Jesus was the ultimate storyteller. He did more than communicate with words; He communicated His heart. He used stories like The Prodigal Son to express God's love for people and to invite them into relationship with Himself. Jesus used storytelling to create a meeting space between God and people. Small groups recreate such meeting spaces. They form the relational intersections of the life of God with our lives. We experience more of this life if we understand the small group gathering as being sacramental in nature.
A "sacrament" is commonly understood to be an outward representation of inward grace received. Two primary examples of sacraments are baptism and communion. A sacramental event results from the Presence of God intersecting with humanity in a spiritually empowering way because of someone's faithfulness to act on what He has called him/her to do. To say something is sacramental means God is present; His power is available; and His purpose is being accomplished in and through the whole of a person's life and the gathering in which they are a part.
Small group leaders and participants should not think they need to create or seek out experiences of transforming (holy) moments within a gathering. Instead, they should view the whole of a small group's gathering as holy and transformational.
Jesus promises to be in the midst of two or three who come together in His Name (Matthew 18:20). When Jesus inhabits the space that believers occupy together in His Name, the space changes and so do we. In fact, our experience of the space changes as our spirit connects with God's Spirit who transforms the primary nature of the gathering from social to sacramental.
The presence of God transforms! When believers gather in Jesus' Name, ...