I want to share something that has made a huge impact on my life today. This has been something that empowers me and gives me a strong community. Today I want to talk about small groups. Often times we can feel disconnected or alone, and this is a dangerous place to be. Satan loves to prey on the lonely people. I know this because for a long time, I felt lonely. In middle and high school, I didn’t fit in and hadn’t found my tribe. Spiritual attack was more difficult and temptation grew stronger. Then I entered into a small group, a group of brothers my age that loved me and held me accountable for what I was choosing to do. I entered into a circle. See for a long time, the church has just been about rows; listen to the pastor and try to remember what he said two weeks from the message that spoke to your heart. We’re human, we don’t always remember messages, but when we enter a circle, we enter a dialogue. We become an active participant to God’s greater plan for our lives.
I love small groups because it changed my life, and I’m not the only one who loves them, Jesus loves them too. How do I know? It was the first thing he did when he began his ministry, gather a group of twelve around him. He called a circle around him to go through his life, good and bad. The thing I want to share with you today, is that you need a circle. You need people in your life to help you grow and become accountable. We can listen to amazing leaders and pastors, but until we become active, then we achieve an authentic faith. I want to do some simple math with you today (and believe me, it’s incredibly simple) to help you understand why you need to move from the row into a circle.
You + Circles = Growth
Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” This is important for each and every one of us. We all have room to grow, no matter what your starting point is. If you have been in relationship with God for fifty years, five months, or five minutes; there is always room to grow. We need people to push us, to learn to step out of our comfort zone and into the next step. All the time in scripture we see the metaphor of plants and plant life to represent our relationship with Christ. When we are well watered and have good soil, we grow. This is why the bible talks about us being connected to the vine will help us bear fruit; because we need to be in environments that will produce strong soil and help water us. When you add circles in your life, you will grow into the person God has created you to be.
You + Circles = Accountability
Galatians 6:1-2 says, “Brothers and sisters, what if someone is caught in a sin? Then you who live by the Spirit should correct that person. Do it in a gentle way. But be careful. You could be tempted too. Carry one another’s heavy loads. If you do, you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Like it or not, we are all in a community, and that community is either helping you or harming you. If your closest friend group encourages you to make unwise choices, that group will only make you lost and farther from who you are called to be. A circle that loves and cares for each other, works hard to keep each other from falling prey to Satan’s trap. Your circle should keep you accountable by making sure you are rooted in Christ and not things in the world. Circles make you accountable for not just the temptations you face, but the commitments you have made to pursue Christ. When you add circles in your life, you will have others keep you accountable for who God has created you to be.
You may ask yourself, well how do I get a circle into my life? That tug on your soul might be the Holy Spirit speaking to you, because the beauty of a circle is that you don’t need the church building to get in one. The church is important and should be the place to start, but all of you have the potential to lead. You have a chance to make a circle. To add it in your life and help others add it to their own equations. It starts with listening to the Spirit’s voice in your heart and food. Kinda weird? Acts 2:42 says, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” My first small group in high school was started by my close friends, and our first night was just the four of us. As the year went on, each week was a talk about our lives, what the bible said about us and our situations, and would end in getting cookout. It was simple, but it added circles to our equations; helping us see the plan God had for each of us. You see, circles changed my life. That’s why I get so passionate about them, each of you has influences speaking to you, but what if you invested in being an influencer and listening to a life-giving community. It’s what Jesus did and what he encouraged the early church to do, because circles are powerful.
Add circles to your equation and watch how God will transform your world forever.