Why are you a small-group leader? Why are you involved in the community of your church (and the Church)? I've been thinking about those questions recently.
Sometimes I get the impression that people view "community" as just another one of those things we do as Christians. Good Christians read their Bible, pray, and (along with several other spiritual disciplines) participate in a small group. Because that's what we're suppose do as Christians, right? If I were new to the community of God and his people, I'm not sure how thrilled I would be with this expectation–especially if I didn't think I'd enjoy being with the people in it.
Now don't get me wrong: I love small groups. But it's not small groups themselves that get me fired up. It's what can happen in small groups.
Jesus has told us he will be in the midst of two or three who come together in his name (Matthew 18:20). If we assume community begins with two or more people, then what Jesus is saying is revolutionary! Here's why: The presence of God has the power to transform things. When believers gather in Jesus' name, a life-changing environment is created that affects all who come within its radiating sphere of influence.
When God's grace is flowing, the Church is being the Church in all the fullness God intended. And the most beautiful part of it to me is the fruit of real community: God saving more people each day! This is precisely what we see happening in Acts 2:42â€"47. What a picture of the life-giving flow of God's grace. It is a timeless blueprint for doing what Jesus has commanded every believer to do in The Great Commandment and The Great Commission.
The life-giving community of the Church is the one thing in the whole universe that encompasses what every believer is to do (make disciples) and how they're to do it (love God and one another). It is how God transforms our lives, and it is how he desires to use us to reveal himself to the world. People see God when believers love one another (John 13:34â€"35; 1 John 4:12). And I can't think of a better presentation of the Gospel that kind of LIFE.