This is week three of our current series the “rules” of happiness. This week we’re looking at a vital rule, one that Scripture over and over again emphasizes, as does modern psychology. We have a fundamental need to be known, loved and cared for. Solid, deep relationships bring emotional and even physical health. They also bring spiritual health.
That’s why we promote small group life here at Nativity. Small groups are a standard part of most evangelical and even other protestant churches. But they are rarely seen in Catholic settings, and, frankly, they’re a hard sell to Catholics. We have been turning the fly wheel on this for several years now and we have come far, though we are nowhere near where we want to be as a congregation when it comes to small group life.
In an interesting article in “Outreach” magazine about America’s largest churches, a researcher for the Pew organization was asked why, when discussing “mega-churches,” (defined as churches with weekend attendance of over 2,000) Catholic churches are never included in the count. Why? There are probably hundreds of Catholic churches in America with weekend attendance over 2,000, why do sociologist not even count them in the “mega churches” movement? This particular researcher simply answered, “Well, all the Catholics do is come to church, they’re not part of a movement.”
That about sums it up, doesn’t it…Catholics just come to church, they don’t really do anything else, its not a movement. A lot of Catholics never really grow in their faith, they don’t ever grow as disciples because they only experience and express it in a crowd, but never one on one.
Small groups are great for support and accountability. They are definitely where our great big church gets up close and small and personal. But they’re more than that. Small groups are schools for discipleship. Small groups are where disciples help one another grow as disciples. No amount of prayer-repeating, no amount of Sacrament-taking, no amount of religious rule keeping is going to be a substitute for a small community of people who are interested in growing spiritually together. We grow spiritually relationally. Small groups are where we grow spiritually.
If you don’t have a group, you need to get one, and you can at our Small Group “Event” on February 1st. Go to www.churchnativity.tv, click on “Small Groups” and register. Do it now. Get a group and grow.