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Why I Love Small Group | The Motters

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First and foremost what small group means to us is being in community with other believers. It’s one of those things that can be really hard to understand until you are actively doing it. Before we started going to small group we had no idea how great the need for it was in our lives. Going to church on Sunday is wonderful and you do get to know people there; but in small groups meeting during the week you really get the opportunity to know people better and deeper. It's also more than just one day a week, it's every day and it truly is doing life with people. It is an extension of what we experience at church on Sunday morning. Those people in your small group become your family.

During small group we really have the chance to dive deep in the sermon and you get to understand the word of God even better, and ask any questions. There may be times during the sermon at church on Sunday morning that we need clarification on, and you can get that in small groups. You really get to discuss what the sermon was about, and get a much greater understanding of what the gospel is. 

Another great thing about small groups is accountability. The word of God calls us to confess our sins to other believers which is something that can be really hard to do; but knowing that there is scheduled time devoted specifically to accountability not only makes you more aware of your sins but gives you the chance to really confess them. Accountability is a time where you can share your celebrations and your struggles. It’s also helpful to see that there are other people, people you know and are friends with that go through the same thing that you go through. Through the relationships that are built it’s so easy to see that you are not alone going through troubles. It is easy to see that when we confess our sins to each other, through keeping our friends accountable we keep ourselves accountable too. It helps you feel less lonely to know that you can go to someone at any time with any issue you are working through.

Something else really good about small groups, is you really get to understand the church better, and if there is something you want to volunteer for, whether it be for the church or for the community you get to do that through small groups. We have served at a few places in the community with our small group, and getting to do that has been very humbling for us. Getting to serve others that need it is a wonderful thing and getting to do that with friends is really nice.

Last year, we were personally served so well, and it made us feel so loved. Megan got really sick and it was the absolute hardest time in our lives. We needed prayer more than anything, and people would text and call us all the time and encourage us and prayed for us and the support we felt was indescribable. God worked in us constantly and having people by our side no matter what through the hardest time in our lives meant more to us than we can say. We not only received prayer, but love and support in other tangible ways too. Different people from church would come and sit with Megan, bring us meals, and it made us feel so loved. Adam received guidance from some of the guys and having those relationships that he could turn to meant a lot. The entire church was a great support during that time, and the relationships that were built through small groups were wonderful. 

Another great thing, for us, is having other married couples to look to for guidance. Our marriage has grown and strengthened through our ability to work through any issues we may have with other married people. There are times where we are just talking to others that may go through the same things that all we are going through or have gone through. There also times we seek advice for something another couple may have gone through, and fortunately there are also times when we can also provide advice. We have also learned through example of other married couples how to pray for one another. We saw, and continue to see what that really looks like. That is something that we admit to each other that we didn’t really do before, and we see what it looks like to have a marriage where you are praying for your spouse, and it has been wonderful for our marriage. We can go to others in our small group and talk about any disagreements we may have and knowing people will help you and not judge is very encouraging.

Ultimately joining a small group was one of the best things that we have done, for our prayer life, our marriage, and really cultivating our relationship with the Lord. The people we share small group with are truly our family.

Why I Love Small Group | Laura Taylor

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Living life together. This is how the early Christians lived while devoting their lives to Jesus Christ and this is how Integrity promotes community for their church body. Community was not something I was interested in before I became a believer. I am naturally an introvert and independent. I would rather curl up on the couch and read a good book, than go out and meet new people; and the thought of asking for help makes me uncomfortable. I had the introverted mindset when I was asked to accompany one of my friends to Small Group (now called Small Group). I immediately said no, especially since I had never been to Integrity and did not know a soul, other than my very enthusiastic friend. I was also skeptical because the Lord had not yet changed my heart and being in a room of believers scared me. I gave in to my friend’s pleads and, little did I know, God changed my life as soon as I walked into the Hammell’s home. The first thing I noticed was how warm and welcoming people were with someone they had never met before. I know it is a cliché, but coming from a true introvert, I felt like I had known these people my whole life. They sat with me and took an interest in my life by asking questions and genuinely listening to what I had to say. God opened my eyes and softened my heart during my first experience with Small Group, which led to God changing my heart and me surrendering myself to Christ. 

When I devoted myself to Christ on a cool November evening, my Small Group members were the first people I wanted to tell. I had never felt this enthusiasm before and I realized that, in Christ, I found what community truly means and was experiencing the community in which God intended me to live. They have walked with me in my journey with Christ, from the first group gathering, to my baptism, to the current season God has provided me. The Book of Acts describes the early Church and how their community was centered around Christ and His teachings. Acts 2:42-47 and 4:32-37 discuss how Christ’s grace and love encouraged them to care for and act generously toward one another, without fear, worry, or resentment. This is how Small Groups are at Integrity. The people you meet live a Christ-centered life and they would lay their life down for you, the way Christ did. That is what makes a community of true believers. One of the wisest women in our group told me an analogy about Christ-centered relationships: “When Christ is at the center of your relationships, nothing can pull the relationship apart. It’s like when you link your fingers in prayer – you can pull as hard as you want, but nothing can break that bond.” The relationships made in Small Group are the most authentic and wholesome I will ever have.

Authentic is not a common word used to describe relationships in today’s society. Most people ask how you are and the typical reply is “fine” or “okay” and they move on. In Small Group, this is not the case. True relationships are formed. Love and compassion for each other is evident with each greeting and goodbye. Emotions and encouragement are revealed in raw form through accountability and prayer. Laughter, stories, and recipes are shared and swapped with delight, gratitude, and eagerness. Growth and heart changes unfold before us. God’s joy shines brightly in each conversation. Life is lived together.

Come and experience God’s gift. Come and live life with us.

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