Christians know that they have to attend church services if they want to grow spiritually. So many people have become Sunday Christians by attending church services only once a week and such people grow slowly. A church needs "groups" which are the basic components of a healthy church just as "cells" are the most basic tissues of the human body. Pastor Li, of a house church in Beijing, also stressed that believers can truly grow spiritually when they belong to a group.
The church is God's home and saints become part of God's home. So they have the right to and must live the "home life", enjoy the "warmth of the home" and be "nurtured in the home". The group is the environment for the saints to practice family life.
Therefore, the "group" style is the current trend. There is the need for the saints to grow, to become pillars of the church's truth, to be established, which is also God's will.
Pastor Li shared the small group's three major functions.
1. Establish physical relationships
In the group, because there are fewer people, more communication between each other is possible which not only deepens the relationship with each other, but also strengthens the relationship with the Lord and strengthens a holy relationship with the world. Within the groups, they can be open-minded and build a closer, more trusting, and stronger relationship.
2. The function of the body
Hebrews 10:24 says, "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds." 1 Corinthians 14:3 says, "But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort."
Pastor Li said that the most important thing in a group is to have a love connection - to practice your faith in the group; to actually love the brothers and sisters, and to be transformed in life by the teachings that they hear. Members of the group should look after each other, comfort each other and encourage each other. The group could inspire love, establish each other, and also encourage kindness and exhorting others.
3. A good exercise
"As it is, there are many parts, but one body", says 1 Corinthians 12:20. "Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it", says 1 Corinthians 12:27. "Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body", says Ephesians 4:25.
A group is equivalent to a body, in which the members each act as body parts so that the parts should help each other, offering the good use of their respective gifts. Because the function of the parts are different, everyone should use their own special gifts and talents to fulfil their roles.
As to the group's basic objectives there are three: to build fellowships, to establish saints, and to preach the gospel.
Not only does the group method cultivate the growth of the life of the believers, but ultimately encourages them to preach the gospel, bringing more people into the church, to know Jesus and to gain salvation.
- Translated by Charlie Li