What is a small group?
Small groups are an important means we use at Rocky to promote community within our body and a passion for growing to be like Christ. During our Worship Service, we look to Christ; hearing the Scripture read and proclaimed in a variety of ways. In our Sunday School Ministry we look carefully at the Bible to attain a thorough biblical literacy and an appreciation for the doctrines of the faith. But it is in Small Groups that we look at each other and encourage one another face to face to believe everything that God has done for us.
Why are small groups important?
Because small groups provide an ideal setting to relate to Christ and to each other on a more personal and intimate level. These groups are characterized by these four primary pursuits:
(1) Promoting community
We loved you so much that we were delighted to share not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us. 1 Thes 2:8
See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. Heb 3:12-13
Jesus revealed his heart for community shortly before his arrest when he prayed to the Father that the Christian church "may be one as we are one" (John 17:11). We see that true community finds its essence and definition in the very nature of God. While community is God's intended purpose for his people, it is not automatically present, nor is it created on demand. Biblical fellowship takes time, energy and a willingness to share the "fine china" of life with brothers and sisters in Christ. Relating honestly with one another is at the heart of becoming the people of God.
(2) Praising the Lord together
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. Col 3:16
I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High. Psalm 9:1-2
We can only relate rightly to one another when we first relate rightly to our Creator and Redeemer. Group worship is a vital component of authentic Christian community. As we learn to know and love God, our gratitude overflows in praise, thanksgiving and by the offering of our very lives. Times of corporate praise redirect our focus and prepare us to minister grace to one another.
(3) Practical application of the Scriptures
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Heb 10:24-25
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. Jas 1:22-24
Small groups create a context where brothers and sisters in Christ can apply the truth of God's Word in a personal, practical manner. These meetings are not primarily intended for teaching and preaching, rather the focus is on our practice before God. Life transforming small groups aim to connect the rich truth of God's word with life in this fallen world; the goal is a well-ordered heart. A guiding diagnostic question: How am I becoming like Christ?
(4) Praying for one another and the world
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other...Jas 5:16
Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." Matt 9:37-38
We live in a world of great need. God calls his children to vigilant prayer: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God" (Phil 4:6). One of the highest expressions of love is lifting one another before the throne of grace. In prayer we move beyond our own realm of thought and into God's throne room. We acknowledge together that God is sovereign, knows what is best for his children and longs for us to cry out to Him with confident expectation.