We begin tonight the Fall 2010 small group Bible study in our home, the fifth year Debbie and I have led a group. We are beginning our study of “Profiles in Courage,” starting this semester with the book of Daniel. One distinctive of our group study is that we have remained committed to expository Bible study. This means that we study a book or books of the Bible verse-by-verse, rather than using a topical study guide or a popular book or film. Some groups feature the social interaction as a way to build community and to get to spiritual issues. We’ve used expository Bible study, which has been a great experience for us as leaders, and it seems to have been a real help to members.
We are part of 12 Stone church in Lawrenceville, Georgia, a multi-site megachurch with more than 10,000 attending–not sure what the exact number is now. Fabulous teaching; great worship. But attending a megachurch will leave a huge gap in your spiritual journey if you don’t become involved in a small group, simply because you can attend a large church for years and never have a meaningful conversation with someone in the church or have a time of focused prayer with another member of the local body. You can be struggling in any of a number of ways and never have a pastoral visit, or have a mechanism where another Christian will say to you: “are you OK?” Attending a megachurch without becoming involved in a small group is simply spectator Christianity. Pretty entertaining, and even motivational, but it can’t deal with the reality of daily life.
So we not only enjoy leading our small group, but we depend on the weekly gathering as a part of our spiritual journey. This semester we have 28 people signed up (we closed registration at 28); we won’t have that many for the whole semester. A few won’t come at all, and then a few will need to drop off during the fall/winter. We rarely have 100 percent attendance at any given weekly meeting. This will be our largest group; the number has grown over the years, although just one couple has been with us all five years!
We are looking forward to getting back into a study, seeing our old friends, and meeting several new ones.