I can't prove this, but I think the early church meetings were a lot more like small group meetings than they were like big church meetings. I base this partly on the idea that the first Christians met in houses rather than auditoriums. I think those early gatherings consisted of people sitting in circles and facing each other rather in than in rows staring at the backs of other people's heads.
I think in first century church gatherings, the followers of Christ enjoyed coming together and sharing their lives. I think they loved the opportunity to get together and encourage one another. I think they found joy together in focusing on Christ and how He was changing their life.
At this point, it feels that I'm rambling on, but I'm actually writing all this for a simple reason. I think we should be careful not to underestimate our small group time. Sometimes, we are tempted to view a small group meeting as a "part of" church. It is much bigger than that.
When your group is gathered, you ARE the church. Fully. Completely. You are the people of God gathered in His presence to bring Him glory. Whatever you are doing, it is important.
Small groups aren't just something the church does, they ARE THE CHURCH. Put this on the front burner of your mind next time you are preparing for a group meeting!