Have you ever wondered if group Bible Study really matters? For this week’s Monday Minute, Kori shares with us three key elements of why group Bible study matters.
Relationship, Encouragement, and Accountability – Group Bible Study Matters
Does small group Bible study really matter?
I’ll be honest. We attend church regularly, talk to and teach our children about God, and do our best to follow Jesus, so do I really need to be part of a small group Bible study? Surely, I could just study at home on my own and be just as good.
Our first PCS brought these questions to the forefront. We were only planning to be there for six months and we didn’t really need new friends. We didn’t question the importance of church, but we did wonder if we really wanted to get “that involved.”
God made a point to show me I could not have been more wrong.
Small Groups Make All the Difference
During those six months that stretched into a two-and-a-half-year assignment, our small group from church made all the difference – and they still do. Not only did they encourage us in marriage and parenting, two areas we were still trying to figure out, but they also held us up, prayed for us, and loved us.
From the miscarriage we walked through not long after we moved there to the PCS survival kit they gave us when we packed out, our small group walked with us. In between, we studied finances in our living room, dug into Scripture in our classroom at church, and met up for meals. Our time with them was about studying Scripture and growing in our walk with God, but also about encouragement, relationship, and accountability.
Small group Bible studies are more than a simple hour a week appointment, they are God’s design for how a church works. In a crowd of hundreds or thousands at church, we can get lost in the shuffle and “get by” with mediocre Christianity. In a small group, it doesn’t work quite that way. This is why small group Bible study matters.
Biblical Examples of Group Bible Study
Luke talks a lot about these opportunities in Acts as the early church grew. The fellowship among that first church was amazing. Check it out.
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
Pentacost had just arrived, which means those who believed in the risen Christ there in Jerusalem were filled with the Holy Spirit. What followed was an amazing revival, followed by persecution and the scattering of the church – all for God’s glory, mind you.
Between Pentecost and persecution, God wove them together. He did this through teaching of Scripture and fellowship. The bonds formed here would sustain them through what was to come. They would hold each other up, pray for each other, remind each other of Jesus’ sacrifice, and continue to teach each other the things they had learned.
This was small group at its best.
This is also the small group we need. We will no doubt encounter challenging seasons or moments. In these times, we’ll need to be reminded of Jesus, learn what God has already taught others, and hold each other up in prayer.
Small group Bible study matters to our growth, with key components of study, relationship, and accountability. A Barna Study shared an interesting fact in this regard. They said 67% of regular church attenders read their Bible outside of church, but that number grew to 84% when people were part of a small group. Relationship, encouragement, and accountability are all key factors in our grow as Christians and small group provides these very things.
Our small groups have looked different in different places.
We’ve done Sunday School at church or chapel, PWOC and discipleship breakfasts, and small groups in our home or the home of a friend. We’ve gathered around fire pits and tables, crazy kids and all, because we need each other.
The first step in finding where we belong at each new place is to find that church or chapel the Lord would have us call home. This is where we usually look for that small group interaction, but sometimes it’s not there. In those seasons, we’ve found groups through Officers’ Christian Fellowship (open to both officer and enlisted folks) as well as CRU Military and Navigators. Sometimes we haven’t found what we believe to be God’s fit for us even in those places. So we started inviting people into our home. No matter what it looked like, these became “our people.”
Looking back to that first PCS, we still connect with that small group. Whether through social media or emails, they are still a part of our lives. We’ve even had to be back at that location for TDYs and such and found ourselves in a guest room of our very dear friends.
Finding a small group to study, build relationships, and keep each other accountable is vital to the health of our Christian walk.
Small group Bible study matters.
Read: Acts 2 (The whole chapter is a great picture of how the Lord was growing the church.)
Reflect: What are some blessings you’ve received from small groups? What area has been the biggest blessing of small group for you: study, relationship, or accountability? How might the Lord be leading you to encourage and possibly lead others in this small group environment?
Respond: If you are not currently a part of a small group, pray about where the Lord might lead you to engage. If you are a part of a small group, pray about ways the Lord might be having you invest more there.
Lord, help us to find that place where we belong, the place we find community, encouragement, and accountability in our walk with you. Help us to have the courage and obedience to seek this out in each new place. Amen.
CRU Military gives some great resources for small groups including leading your own!
Officers’ Christian Fellowship also gives some great tools for small groups.
The Navigators also have some very practical resources for personal study and small group study.
The Planting Roots Community Resources Page has some great encouragement for building community.