the more we get together...
I have a little book titled “I Will”. Actually, the full title is “I could, I Might, I Can, I Should (with each of those marked through) then I Will”. The author is Thom Rainer who is president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. The book explores traits of outwardly focused Christians.
One chapter is devoted to “groups” and the importance of involvement in church at a level beyond just Sunday worship attendance. Rainer gives an eye-opening statistic that is backed by research: Those who are involved in groups are more than five times more likely to be active in church five years later than those who only attend worship. (This does not include those who have passed on through relocation, disability, or death,)
He writes: “I had to check the results a second time. They were astounding! After five years more than 83 percent of those who joined and were involved in small groups were still active in that church. But only 16 percent of those who attended worship services only remained in the church.”
He lists several possible reasons, noting that we cannot grow effectively as believers in isolation. “Lone Ranger” Christianity doesn’t work. We need to build relationships with other Christians. And, we can get a lot more done to help people and build God’s kingdom when we work together. We also learn more and grow in our faith as we study the Bible and pray together.
I believe we need to take these statistics seriously as a church and provide as many group opportunities as possible. And as church members and attendees we need to consider how we are utilizing such opportunities.
We have quite a few groups going at MVF. Our Sunday school has nursery plus two classes for children, separate classes for Junior High and Senior High youth, and 3 class options for adults. And we’ve used up all available classroom space-a good problem to have.
In addition we presently have Women’s Bible Study, Youngish Adult Bible Study, Wednesday night prayer, Mid-Week Together, and within our organizational structure, Leadership Team (with 6 Ministry Teams) and Deacons.
Speaking of Deacons, at their last meeting they noted that we don’t have an active men’s group. It was suggested that we have a Men’s Breakfast on October 7 followed by a morning work day around the church. That’s because men like to “do stuff” beyond just meeting and eating. We hope that can be the beginning of another group opportunity. As the song says, “The more we get together the happier we’ll be.”