Formalized small groups aren’t for everyone. Yet, the New Testament clearly commands us to spend time with one another, motivating and encouraging one another to good works (growth).
The following questions can serve as a template for two or three people to have coffee together or for a group of 15 to gather in a home. Wherever your comfort level may be, you should be spending time with believers. Use these questions and use that time to empower growth in one another.
What has God said?
Everything God desires us to know can be discovered in His Word. As we build into one another’s lives, one of the most important topics around which we grow is understanding what God has said to us. Whether you spend 15 minutes reading a passage together or 2 hours digging into one verse; discerning God’s message is critical for spiritual growth. If you aren’t sure how best to answer this question, consider the following ideas:
- Choose a chapter from Proverbs (or another book) and read it together
- Agree ahead of time to read a passage, and discuss when you gather
- Choose one verse and memorize it together
- Utilize a Bible study resource of some kind to guide your time
- Use a Bible study tool such as the “SOAPY” study (click the link to learn more)
- Choose a paragraph of the Bible and together rewrite it in your own words, use it to make a list or choose the 3–5 most important words
However you choose to approach God’s Word, make it the centerpiece of your time together. Hearing from God is the most important thing that can happen to you, ever. Having friends that assist you in hearing is one of the greatest blessings you can receive, ever.
What is God doing?
Whatever is going on in your life, God is doing something. He is not surprised, panicked, concerned or aloof. He IS working. Sometimes we need the counsel of others to help us accurately interpret our life’s happenings. Sharing with one another gives you a wonderful opportunity to see your circumstances from another perspective.
Spend time discussing your victories, your failings, your excitement, your anxiety, your opportunities and your difficulties. John Wesley’s small groups were designed to have these types of conversations. Perhaps you could modify some of their questions for your own use:
- Am I consciously or unconsciously creating the impression that I am better than I am? In other
words, am I a hypocrite?
- Am I honest in all my acts and words, or do I exaggerate?
- Do I confidentially pass onto another what was told me in confidence?
- Am I a slave to dress, friends, work , or habits?
- Am I self-conscious, self-pitying, or self-justifying?
- Did the Bible live in me today?
- Do I give it time to speak to me everyday?
- Am I enjoying prayer?
- When did I last speak to someone about my faith?
- Do I pray about the money I spend?
- Do I get to bed on time and get up on time?
- Do I disobey God in anything?
- Do I insist upon doing something about which my conscience is uneasy?
- Am I defeated in any part of my life?
- Am I jealous, impure, critical, irritable, touchy or distrustful?
- How do I spend my spare time?
- Am I proud?
- Do I thank God that I am not as other people, especially as the Pharisee who despised the
- Is there anyone whom I fear, dislike, disown, criticize, hold resentment toward or disregard?
If so, what am I going to do about it?
- Do I grumble and complain constantly?
- Is Christ real to me?
Wesley’s “bands” also used a smaller, more focused (and more intimate) list:
- What known sins have you committed since our last meeting?
- What temptations have you met with?
- How were you delivered?
- What have you thought, said, or done, of which you doubt whether it be sin or not?
- Have you nothing you desire to keep secret?
These questions do not carry any magic. On their own, they cannot accomplish anything. However, these questions (or others like them) can guide your group to discuss their current situations and determine how God may be working in each person’s life.
How can we pray?
This question is fairly straight forward. You should pray together. Pray for one another, pray for those you know, pray for God’s Kingdom to be expanded.
If, on a regular basis, you spend time with other Christians exploring God’s Word, discussing one another’s lives and praying together; you *WILL find yourselves growing. I guarantee it.