In a couple of weeks, we will be starting small groups up at St. James UMC here in Athens and I am stoked. I harken back to a time in Clay, AL, when a group of us young marrieds in our late twenties and early thirties formed a small group to gain spiritual maturity and foster community. We named the group, Foundery Fellowship, after the first Methodist meeting place in England. We also patterned the meeting on a blend of the Wesleyan class and band models.
Each week as we gathered in homes and sometimes at the church building, our time together was marked by bible study, prayer, sharing our lives, and a deep sense of closeness that allowed us to bare our souls to one another. There was even sort of a singing group born out of this small group. I say sort of because I was in it and that pretty much destroyed the group’s bona fides. Nevertheless, Foundery Fellowship served as a glue that made the best things in life—God, Scripture, relationships—really stick.
Though that was forty years ago, many of those in that group remain some of my closest friends, even though we are separated by time and miles. I still recall many of those meetings to the point of remembering some of the questions that were asked, details of testimonies of God’s work in hearts and lives, and seeing God move in our midst. Small groups have a long-lasting influence.
So, yeah, I’m stoked. Stoked because small groups have had a profound impact on me. Stoked because what God did forty years ago, and many times since, through small groups, He is poised to do again. Stoked because “…he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)