Written by: Tim Wood
One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night. 13 At daybreak he called together all of his disciples and chose twelve of them to be apostles. (Luke 6:12-13)
It’s interesting to me that one of the first things Jesus does as he begins his ministry, is to form a small group. Notice in our text there were other disciples called to the mountainside – but Jesus chose 12 to be His Apostles. Did Jesus need these guys to accomplish his mission? No. Jesus is perfectly capable. Jesus didn’t need these guys to help him teach better, or give him more power to heal, or help him with compassion or mercy showing. Jesus was giving us a pattern of how to change the world. Think about this: When Jesus left this earth, he didn’t leave behind a bunch of buildings or financial resources, a budget or a bunch of infrastructure. He left behind his small group. He left behind 12 people who rocked the world.
I’ll tell you how seriously Jesus takes this notion of small group. Those of you who know the New Testament tell me the answer to this: How often did Jesus approach someone and say, I want you to follow Me. I’m putting together a band of disciples, and I want you to be one of them. But I know you’re busy. You don’t really have time to be part of a small group, plus some of the disciples can be kind of a pain. Peter talks too much; Thomas is pretty negative; Judas…don’t even get me started on Judas. They’re not normal like you and I, so you can follow me offline. You can skip the small group part. Just make sure you read the text; make sure you attend the lectures; you can do discipleship on the “Self-Study Plan.” How often did Jesus make that offer available to somebody? He never did. Jesus modeled small group at the beginning of his ministry and the night before he died he prayed for the oneness of his small group. There is no doubt that small group was valuable to Jesus. So let me give you two very important reasons why small group is important in your life.
1) BECAUSE JESUS WAS PART OF A SMALL FAITH COMMUNITY. Jesus chose 12 people with different jobs, different personalities and he encouraged them to love one another.
2) BECAUSE JESUS IS UNIQUELY PRESENT IN SMALL GROUPS. He is always present, every place, every moment but he is present in a special way in small gatherings in his name. In Matthew 18:20 Jesus said, “For where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them.” Dallas Willard said, “Personalities united can contain more of God and sustain the force of His presence than scattered individuals.” This means that we experience God in a magnified way when we are with other people who want to experience God as well. We are better when we are together with the purpose of connecting with God.
Let me encourage you to join a small group because Jesus was in one. Let me encourage you to join a small group to experience God in a magnified way. It’s important.