Woodbury Community Church has set an aggressive goal this year to see 75% of the people who attend our weekend services involved in small groups by the end of this year. Our eventual goal is that 125% of our congregation’s weekend attendance average would be involved in small groups. Why? Because we believe that nothing changes a person more than being a disciple of Jesus Christ, and that disciples are best nurtured in the context of a small group. Small groups allow us to strip away false pretense. Healthy small groups mean that we are known by others. It means that we have a place to be real about our failures and people with whom to celebrate our victories. Life is hard. It was never meant to be lived alone.
My Dad sent me an e-mail last night. The e-mail is an interview with Rick Warren, the pastor of Saddleback Church in California. In the interview Rick says, “Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you’re just coming out of one, or you’re getting ready to go into another one. The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort; God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy. We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that’s not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness.”
This year, our church has been studying The Sermon on the Mount. In His revolutionary sermon, Jesus gave his listeners the secret to a life that was blessed by God. Blessing doesn’t always mean happiness this side of heaven. Sometimes blessing means that we get on God’s anvil, and He chisels away the things in our life that need to be formed into something new. The process may hurt, but the end result brings blessing.
Small groups help us through the process. They also help move us to action; away from complacent Christianity and into the spiritual battle. This 4 1/2 minute video by Matt Carter, the pastor of The Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas talks about being a people who live in missional community. It’s a video that has encouraged me today, and I hope it will encourage you.