SMALL GROUPS BEGIN IN THE HOME
Many churches offer small group programs during the week in order to provide a setting for Christians to come together and study the Bible, pray, and get to know one another better. Doing this, when done right, can be edifying and helpful for Christian maturity and for building closer relationships with fellow church attendees. However, the most important small group that must receive undivided attention in regards to maturing as a Christian and edifying those around you is the one that meets daily within the walls of your own home. Whether you are single, married, or have children in the home, your most pressing spiritual need is for those within your immediate sphere of influence.
The statement, “As the family goes, so goes the country” could be applied to the church as well. “As the family goes, so goes the church.” In other words, what good is time spent with other Christians if we neglect the spiritual health of our own personal communion with God or that of those within the walls of our home? What good is it if we have amazing conversations about God and the Bible with others in a small group but do not have these same conversations with our own spouses or children? The reasons why many neglect this responsibility are manifold, whether as a single, as a husband and wife, or as parents. However, this neglect, if you find it to exist in your own home, must be neglected no more for God cares more about the small group that meets in your home than the one that meets at your favorite coffee shop.
The point is this: let us be sure that we are caring for the spiritual health of those within our direct sphere of responsibility before we venture into a small group outside our homes. Singles, be sure that you are daily spending time alone with God in prayer and Bible study before you seek to spend this kind of time with others. Couples, be sure that you are coming together daily in prayer and reading the Bible before you seek these activities with others. Fathers and mothers – be sure that you are daily striving to rear your children in the fear and admonition of the Lord by setting aside time each day or week devoted to prayer and Bible reading and even singing God honoring songs together, before you agree to do this with others.
Those within your home are the ones God holds you most responsible for regarding their spiritual instruction and welfare. Only when your own small group is cared for do you have license to be part of another. In this way, Paul’s words about providing for the physical needs of your family could be extended to apply to their spiritual needs – “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1 Timothy 5.8)