Pastor’s Blog November 2016

IN PRAISE OF SMALL GROUPS.
The phrase, “one another”, occurs I’ve been told, 51 times in the New Testament. It is a crucial phrase and one we should reflect upon. The life of a church is made up of a whole series of relationships and the quality of the church is ultimately about the quality of those relationships. Reflect for a moment on some of the occurrences of this phrase:
“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.” Romans 12:10
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
“Encourage one another daily.” Hebrews 3:13
“Spur one another on towards love and good deeds.” Hebrews 10:24.
“Carry each other’s burdens.” Galatians 6:2.
“Confess your sins to one another and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” James 5:16.
These are just the tip of the iceberg but indicate the quality of the relationships that the New Testament writers anticipated would be present in the church.
It should be obvious that these kind of relationships cannot be developed simply by attending on a Sunday morning. This is where small groups come in, by being part of a small group and meeting regularly with that group it is possible that these kind of relationships can develop and through them we can grow up as Christians. The bible places a high value on relational maturity. Encouraging, forgiving, listening to and loving others are at the heart of what it means to be church. Too often we are over focused on projects, meetings and activities and we lose sight of people.
I’ve been struck this week by Jesus’ amazing ability to spot the people in need. In the middle of crowds and busyness he somehow always noticed an individual. In small groups we can pay attention to others, deepen relationships, encourage one another to grow as disciples and laugh, socialise and eat together.
One of our goals for the coming year is to increase the number of people in small groups, which will probably involve starting some new ones as well as adding some to the existing groups. If you want to know more about the groups that already meet please have a word with me or Dave Langton.

Phil Dixon