5 Reasons Why Small Groups Are Vital

Reading Time: 7 minutes

You may have heard of small groups before. At True Life, where I serve, we call them Life Groups. It’s not a new concept; Jesus himself had a small group (aka. The 12 Disciples). But in a world where authentic relationships and in-person conversations are becoming scarce, the need to embrace small groups continues to rise. Committing to small group may not seem that important, but I argue that it’s probably one of the most important decisions a Christian could make.

reasons why small groups are vital

Christianity started and grew as small groups. In many areas, early believers were forced into small groups due to persecution, but it didn’t stunt growth. In fact, the Church grew rapidly!

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What Is ‘Revival’?

Understanding when revival begins...

Reading Time: 5 minutesThere are church buildings everywhere in North America, but why aren’t they all full of passionate believers? We all seem to have the answers – create new programs and use new methods; or hold on to old ideas and traditional methods. But any success is marginal compared to past ‘revivals.’ We live in a world that is looking for authentic experiences, so does the Church have something to offer?  The answer is simple – YES! God is longing to connect with all of humanity!  The question is – is the Church ready to be revived?

what is revival

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Why Newfoundland Is Home and Home is Where I Am…

Reading Time: 4 minutesNewfoundland has always been home to me, and for most of my life, it’s where I’ve lived. If you’re not sure where Newfoundland is — it’s the most easterly province of Canada. If you follow the news, the economy has seen better days and the political landscape is often a bleak picture…BUT, the people are great, the food is great, and the sense community is like no other.  Dorthy said it best: ‘There’s no place like home!’

Why Newfoundland Is Home and Home is Where I Am

I’ve lived in Toronto, ON for a while. The people are different there. They don’t know each other. You’re just another face taking up space. No one stops to chat about life at the grocery store. No one randomly waves or greets one another when you pass them on the street. My time in Toronto was good, but it wasn’t home. I knew I was called somewhere else? Why is that?

The sense of community in Newfoundland is so beautifully strange that I find myself attracted to it. And there lies why I’m living in this province. It’s more than a feeling; I feel called to Newfoundland. Let me tell you why:

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What the Church Should Be About

Church, Community, and Commission

Reading Time: 6 minutesWe — are — the — Church. It’s pretty simple, but challenging to actually live out. We know ‘believers’ make up the Church and we know the ‘building’ is just a building. In practice, however, there seems to be a disconnect between what we know and how we act. We say ‘the Church’ loves God, and in the same breath agree that we ‘go to church each Sunday.’ How can the people (the Church) go to themselves? We use the same word to refer to different things. Are we missing something? Does this impact the way we view the Church?

What the Church Should Be About

At the end of the day, there are three basic things we need to remember:

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Have We Derailed Christmas?

Chaos, Family, or Mission?

Reading Time: 5 minutesIt’s the most wonderful time of the year,” sang Andy Williams.1  I completely agree, but I’m not sure we all agree with what makes it wonderful.  I actually think many Christians have missed the mark when it comes to Christmas.  It may even be possible that we have merged the good parts of secular Christmas with the mission of Christmas.  The only problem – we may have derailed the mission altogether.

christmas-derailed

When I think of Christmas, I think of three possible mindsets: Christmas Chaos, Family Christmas, or Christmas Mission.

1. Christmas Chaos

Everything is busier during Christmas!  Calendars are full of concerts, shopping, recitals, shopping, dinners, and… did I mention shopping?  If you’re not buying a gift, you’re in anticipation of opening a gift.  Every day is faster than the next and the temptation to “keep up with the Joneses”2 grows continually.

2. Family Christmas

Christmas becomes warm and sweet.  It’s when Christmas is about gathering together as a family, experiencing tradition from one year to the next, and celebrating the holidays with “good cheer.” It’s not about the gifts, but the people you care about.

3. Christmas Mission

This is when we focus on God’s ultimate gift to us – Jesus.  We remember God’s mission (gifting us with Jesus) and act in our mission (sharing that gift with others).  Just as God selflessly gave his Son to us to provide hope and peace, we act selflessly love others to share in that gift.

Is it possible to experience all three of these Christmas mindsets during the season?  Absolutely!  Can you focus on all three?  Impossible!

Most would agree Christmas Chaos, and the commercialism that surrounds that, is completely missing the mark of Christmas.  But where do we go from there?

We may #believe in the #Christmas #Mission, but do we actually value it? Click To TweetI think we may have fallen into the trap of believing that Family Christmas is the actual meaning of Christmas.  We may have actually derailed the beautiful hope that Christmas brings.  Yes, we may believe in the Christmas Mission, but do we actually value it over Family Christmas?

We know Family Christmas can’t be the center of Christmas, because not all of us have family.  If family doesn’t exist, does that mean that Christmas doesn’t exist?  No, of course not!  It’s a good thing that the Christmas Mission includes everyone!

Does that mean that Family Christmas isn’t important?  Absolutely not!  Family remains an important part of our lives.  It just means that Christmas doesn’t surround the family.  Instead, Christmas is about how family and friends experience the Christmas Mission.

Here are some ways we can refocus our thinking:

  • Care for those in need.

Nothing refocuses us towards the Christmas mission like selflessly giving.  It’s counter-intuitive for our culture to focus on giving, let alone giving selflessly.  What would Christmas look like if we, as family and friends, gave up something to help someone else?  We’re too quick to say we can’t afford to give, and yet focusing on mission means focusing on giving, not receiving.

  • Protect and embrace the birth of Jesus.

It’s one thing to read the Christmas story before we open our presents on Christmas morning, it’s another thing to allow the Christmas story to impact everything we do. I think we all too often get the “religious” thing over with so we can have fun.  We probably forget that, without Christ, the hope of tomorrow is gone.  Christmas time should be sacred.  That doesn’t mean Christmas is always serious, but our activities should bring us closer to Jesus, not further away.

  • Experience Advent.

You may worship in a denomination where the advent liturgy is practiced, or you may now.  Unfortunately, I come from a denomination that has not traditionally practiced advent.  However, I grew up in a local assembly that did.  At Bethel, where I lead, we work through it every year.  It helps build anticipation of the arrival of Christ.

  • Share Christmas.

Spread love, joy and peace to those around us.  Live out the Christmas mission.  Show those around us that knowing the Saviour is life-changing and life-giving.  That might mean giving of our resources, or it might mean extending moments of love, joy and peace during moments of chaos.  It could drastically impact how you react in a busy mall parking lot.

Family is always a vital part of the Christmas Mission, but the focus can’t be on family.  If we do it right, our families should experience the Christmas Mission together.

Your turn…

What is the focus of Christmas?  What makes Christmas “wonderful”?

I would love to hear from you!  Feel free to comment below, on social media, or by email (andrewholm@gmail.com).  SUBSCRIBE HERE!

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