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Growing Closer to Each Other; Growing More Like Christ

Picture Source: I Love Charts

How close a person stands to you should be somewhat dependent on how well that person knows you.

You wouldn't expect a complete stranger to be standing nose-to-nose with you (unless you are at Disney World on a crowded monorail). Conversely, you might wonder if something is amiss if your spouse is never willing to stand within ten feet of you.

We can learn alot of relationships by simply observing the average amount of space between two people (assuming personal hygiene isn't an issue).

Similar principles apply in small groups. Not every small group activity is appropriate for every small group. It may not be a good idea to ask people to confess their deepest sin in a group that has been together for three weeks (confession is one of those activities that requires a GREAT amount of trust). At the same time, you might wonder about a group that has been together for four years but is still unwilling to share prayer requests with each other.

As the relationships within a group deepen, the degree of intimacy in the group's activity should increase. Conversations should move from being peripheral to being personal. Bible study should move from friendly banter to engaged and passionate discussion. Prayer time should shift from a list of "unspoken" requests to sharing the burdens of the soul.

As a leader, be careful not to push intimacy too quickly or to expect deep relationships instantly. This kind of group ethos can't be manufactured.  However, don't be content to keep your group at arm's length either. A group that stagnates relationally will also stagnate spiritually.

As Jesus said in John 13, our love for one another is an indicator of our love for Him. Groups that are growing in love will also be growing in grace.


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Matthew 5:23-24.
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In the past, I've written about and talked about the SOAP method of Bible study. This is a simple Bible study method which can be utilized by an individual or a small group. All you need is a passage of Scripture and 15-30 minutes (a journal is helpful).

Many churches use this method of Bible study for their groups. Some have modified the SOAP method by adding a Y. Read more about it below:

This Bible study is an intentional focused effort of growing in the understanding of the scriptures. This form of study will assist in the transformation of our inner lives as we mature in understanding and in faith.
Set aside 15 minutes every day for the study. You might want to take more time after you have gotten started. Don’t overload yourself in the beginning. Keep a “soapy” journal because there will be the need to write everyday. As you develop your routine, share what you are learning with your Discipleship Group, Sunday school class, Circle, other groups in which you participate, or …