What is the point of small group meetings? Why should I bother to go?
Look at this excellent overview of the benefits of Small Group Meetings by De Waal Esterhuyzen to give a contemporary context to today’s small group leaders study(found at https://youtu.be/avw0apqOP18).
Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV)
24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Context: The letter to the Hebrews was probably written to a specific congregation in Rome early in Nero’s persecution of Christians (AD 62); these fearful believers apparently intended to revert to some form of Judaism (a legally recognized religion in Rome) in the hope of escaping the impending persecution.
- Consider the context given above. Why do you think did the author need to exhort the readers to attend regular fellowship meetings? What could be the cost of associating with other Christians disciples in this context?
- According to the author (and its readers) is it possible to be a Christian disciple and not attend regular fellowship meetings? Why do you say so?
- Let’s study this powerful exhortation by putting each of the phrases in our own words:
- “Let us… stir up… [and] encourage one another…”
- “…to love”
- “…to …good works”
- “Let us consider how to stir up one another…”
- What is meant by the last phrase of this text: “25 not neglecting to meet together, but encouraging one another all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” What DAY is he referring to, and why is that inserted there?
The author writes to a fainthearted, unfaithful congregation fearing the wrath of Nero. He instructs them to remain faithful in their assemblies – amidst the fear of suffering and even death – and in doing so, they must be intentionally creative as they encourage one another to grow in loving character and benevolent deeds that represent Jesus well.
- In the light of this text and its context, what would you say to a small group member who says “small group meetings are useless” or “dead religious works”? How would you motivate him/ her to “not neglect the assembly of the saints?” (v25)
- In your opinion, how does your small group members’ attitude towards your meetings correspond with our text of today (Hebrews 10:24-25)? How can you clarify or improve it?
- What is your motive and attitude when preparing for and leading your small group? How does it correspond our devotional text of today (Hebrews 10:24-25)?
- In your opinion, how encouraging are your small group meetings? Do members feel motivated to grow in Christ-like character and excel in good works? What can you do to make these meetings more encouraging?
- Think of one member of your small group, and do as the author instructs: “consider how you can encourage [him/her] to grow in love and good works” (v24). Pray and write down something specific that will help this person grow in Christlikeness, then send that person a message now, asking them when you can meet/talk to encourage them.
Thank God for the gift of Christian fellowship. Pray about your thoughts and feelings in light of this text. Then ask the Lord to help you become a faithful and creative disciple-maker growing every person in your small group to be more loving with more good deeds.