I wage war every Wednesday. Should I drag myself out of the house and go to small group or just stay home?
My body says, “Don’t you dare get up from this couch.” My toddler says, “Sure. Keep me up past my normal bedtime. I promise I’ll make it interesting!” And my heart of flesh says, “No one will miss you. Everyone will understand. You deserve a break.”
And that’s on a typical day. If something particularly negative or difficult has happened earlier then the volume on those voices kicks way up.
Have you ever felt the fatigue and stress of the week mount up to create an internal inertia? When Newton’s law–objects at rest tend to stay at rest–applies to you? Those times when you can’t fathom rousing yourself once again to put on a pleasant face, interact with people and spend yet more time in yet another activity?
Sometimes we can force ourselves to get up and go to small groups. The guilt of skipping it may compel us. Or it could be a sense of obligation. Maybe there’s even a hint of people-pleasing in the mix.
But grunting your way to going will only get you so far. Sheer willpower and self-discipline, although necessary, are not sufficient in the long run. There has to be some deeper and more compelling reason to attend.
An Act of Faith
Going to small group week-by-week is an act of faith. The Holy Spirit testifies in our hearts that relationships in the Lord are good. Your participation signals your trust in God to use such gatherings as a blessing. Attending small groups demonstrates that you believe in His power to use togetherness to bring about spiritual growth in you and others.
And He does bless groups of believers who gather in His name. It’s not that God is excited about us attending another church function. God blesses small groups not because we’re assembled for a program but because we’re assembled as His people.
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42).
Diving into Scripture, meeting in one another’s homes, and breaking bread together is being the church. And it is the church that God is blessing when we go to our small groups.
“And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles” (Acts 2:43).
When Going Home Means Leaving the House
God shapes individuals in community. He uses the relationships you cultivate there to make you resemble His Son more and more. He works through other people to help you bear your burdens even as you do the same for them. And He brings new believers into union with Him through the collective witness of love you demonstrate in the group.
“And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47).
By faith we believe that God uses the small group gathering because He has told us in His word that He will build His church (Mt. 16:18).
And it works. When I remember the sweetness of the interactions with people in my group, my community. When I see someone from my community at church on Sunday and ease into conversation like it never ended. When I can pray specifically and passionately for my community members because I know their struggles and they know mine. That’s what gets me up and gets me going on Wednesday night.
It’s funny…going to small group each week means leaving the house, but it also means going home.