Every new Christian needs an opportunity to grow in their faith. Unless a new Christian, a newbie, has a mentoring Christian’s influence in their life they will likely continue to think and act as they did prior to experiencing God. Those of us who are more mature Christians have an opportunity to influence new Christians.
To effectively have a mentoring influence in a person’s life, Christian or not, the mentor must spend time with the one to be mentored. A newbie can come to worship services every Sunday, greet and shake hands with mature Christians every week, but not have their life influenced for lack of opportunity to spend meaningful time with a more mature Christian. Without an opportunity to spend quality time together there is limited opportunity for a newbie to meaningfully connect with mature Christians.
Connection is vital in the development of any new Christian’s faith development. Without a connection to others who are attending the Sunday service the newbie remains the newbie and often feel unnoticed or detached from others attending worship service. This is one of the reasons that Pastor Dick has mentioned small groups, connection groups, several times.
Gathering in smaller groups provides opportunities that will never exist during a worship service. In a small group the newbie is one of the few present rather than another face in a crowd. Small group gatherings are more intimate. A small group allows an opportunity for the new Christian to be noticed as well as an opportunity to get to know the others in the small group. It is an opportunity to learn about each other’s families, jobs, hobbies and, of course, to grow in faith.
In a small group it is easier to share your faith experiences which new Christians need to hear as well as an opportunity for the newbie to ask questions he or she might have. Small groups become like an extended family, a family that every member can ask advice from and seek support.
Also, in a small group, more mature Christians have an opportunity to grow. They learn from the experiences of others and from the God given knowledge that others have. There is also an opportunity to learn to communicate the Good News that is Jesus with others more effectively.
The skills gained in a small group can also be used outside of a small group. You never know when God will put you before someone in the checkout line at a grocery store or next to someone in a department store that needs to hear something from your faith journey.
Small groups allow more mature Christians to help guide those who have recently come to Christ (Experienced God), as well as an opportunity for all to grow in faith while learning to better serve others.