I had the chance to spend an evening with one of our home groups this week and came away so encouraged by the experience. These mini communities tick so many of the boxes when it comes to learning and growing, being cared for and connected to the Body of Christ:
we began by reflecting on the week that had passed and sharing what God has been doing among us. That’s a helpful discipline – stopping, reflecting, noticing and sharing.
our discussion for the evening had to do with the person and work of the Holy Spirit (which is also our focus today – being Pentecost Sunday) and the space created for this conversation was safe enough for people to ask very honest questions. We were reminded that God loves to give his Spirit to us and that God will do this repeatedly in all sorts of ways – there are no predictable formulae!
as we closed, we remembered the wider UMC community and time was spent praying for some specific needs within our congregation. Isn’t that a comforting thought? – there are groups within the church praying for your needs. It also reminded me that the primary place of pastoral care in the church is through small groups – time and time again we’ve heard people who have been through a crisis speak about how they were loved through it by their small group.
once the ‘organised’ part of the evening was over, nobody rushed off and people stayed and chatted over tea. That’s exactly how it should be – the value of a small group is just as much in the relaxed communal time as it is in the more structured study or discussion. Now if only we’d been able to talk about cricket enthusiastically …