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More than a Meeting

What phrase is used 100 times in the New Testament, including 59 specific commands? The phrase is derived from the Greek word allelon which means "one another, each other; mutually, reciprocally." These passages tell us how to (and how not) to relate to one another. Obedience to those commands is imperative. It forms the basis for all true Christian fellowship and has a direct impact on our witness to the world (John 13:35).

It is evident that these directives cannot all be carried out in a large group setting. How can we practice acts like-- encouraging, bearing with, honoring, building up, being kind and compassionate, admonishing, forgiving,submitting, looking into the interests, teaching, confessing, loving--- while sitting in pews on a Sunday morning? Impossible!

That's what small groups are for, right!? It just makes sense that the "one-anothers" are better accomplished while we are sitting in a small circle, facing each other in a trusting and caring environment. An environment where all are encouraged to share and use their gifts to build up the group and grow together.

Still, as small group leaders, we cannot pretend that the "one-another" imperative is fully accomplished in a weekly meeting. Rather, it must spill over into daily life interactions. The leader who only puts all his/her efforts into what transpires during one weekly meeting is missing an important component to healthy growth-- the day by day 'one-anothers' or personal 'touches'.

How is this accomplished? How do we live in this daily community? In a natural but also deliberate manner. Relationships are nurtured in a small group and the normal outgrowth will extend to activities outside group meetings. A golf outing, a movie night, or just a one-on-one chat over coffee. Many of these activities will be natural among the group members. Still, other, deliberate "touches" are also important, especially for the more reserved and independent members. A personal 'touch' can be as simple as a brief text or phone call, a 'just thinking of you' message or a congratulatory note of accomplishment. These messages may spring from a prayer concern or praise shared during meeting time which warrants a timely and simple "touch". With the variety of avenues to communicate with one another today, it is not difficult. A small group leader may delegate certain simple "touch" responsibilities to other group members as well as organized one-on-one discipleship studies for new believers in the group. The important thing to remember is not to just send the group members out "on their own" in between group meetings.

Being part of the 'one-another' family requires a steady flow of communication and love. One meeting a week will not suffice. We all need those personal 'touches' as we go throughout our day. A healthy small group will be practicing the "one-another" imperatives on a personal, daily basis.

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