Why Do We Need Community Groups?
Learning Why These Groups are Essential for Each Person and the Whole Church
Because We Need to Share Life Together
Community Groups give the people of the church the opportunity to obey Christ’s command to love one another – John 15:17; 1 John 3:23. This love for one another compels us to share our material and spiritual lives with each other – Romans 12:13; 1 Corinthians 12:25; Philemon 1:2; Galatians 2:9.
The first church modeled this for us. Notice in the following verses how the believers met all together in the temple but also split into smaller groups from "house to house."
The believers within the church shared their material lives (their homes, their food, their possessions) and their spiritual lives (their prayers, their fellowship, their worship) – Acts 2:44.
The concept of believers sharing their lives together is seen many times throughout the New Testament. These commands are usually identified with an instruction from the author and are followed by the words "one another."
Here is a small sampling of the many "one anothering" passages.
As you think through this short list, ask yourself: What kind of environments foster these kinds of relationships? Where is "one anothering" most likely to happen?
Because We Need to Discuss and Apply the Word Together
Community Groups are not a replacement for the preaching and teaching of God’s Word. Rather, they exist to give a forum for believers to discuss and apply the Word together. So once a believer hears the Word preached in a large group setting, he should take that Word and interact with other believers in a smaller setting. Consider the following Biblical examples:
- After the Berean church heard the Word preached by Paul, they searched the Scriptures together. They listened to the Word taught but then went out and discussed the teaching together. – Acts 17:11
- Paul preaching publicly; but he also chose the more intimate setting of the home to gather with believers. – Acts 20:20
- The Colossian Christians were instructed to be Word-filled believers, and then to take the Word and minister to each other through teaching and admonishing. – Colossians 3:16
- The Thessalonian believers heard the Word read and expounded in their church, but the ministry of the Word did not stop there. They were instructed to take the Scriptures they heard and use them to comfort and build up other believers. – 1 Thessalonians 4:18
Because We Need to Exhort and Edify Each Other In Love
Believers in the church need each other. No believer can grow spiritually with a “go-it-alone” approach. Spiritual growth takes place within the context of believers exhorting and edifying one another.
- Exhortation needs to take place daily. Exhortation is not a “one-and-done” action. Believers need this constant urging to keep fighting the spiritual war. – Hebrews 3:13
- Regular exhortation changes lives. Just look at Barnabas, the encourager. He exhorted believers in the church, and it changed their lives (i.e., they followed the Lord) and the lives of people in their community (i.e., people were saved). – Acts 11:23
- Exhortation happens in relational settings. According to Hebrews 10:25, what is the urgency to regularly gather? To exhort! Therefore, we are not to forsake gathering together to do this.
- Edification causes spiritual growth. Believers in the church grow spiritually as they edify each other in love. Without these mutually beneficial relationships, the church suffers and individuals are thrown off course spiritually. – Ephesians 4:16
- Spiritually and generationally younger believers need relationships with more mature believers. The older should be building up the faith of the younger. The faithful must be passing on truth to other believers. – 2 Timothy 2:2; Titus 2:4
Because We Need to Pray Together
The people of the church need to belong to a group of Christians within the church with whom they are praying. This group gathers to pray for each other and the other members of the church.
Consider the following reasons the first century church prayed together. They gathered: