This isn't your typical small group environment. This is an environment for the precious ones who know they are broken, know they are delicate and understand that others are too. We have found that the ones who join our community understand that judgement, defensiveness and lack of trust are some of the main causes of human pain. We have put these small groups together to encourage a SAFE environment for those who need others to love them, on their best day...and on their worst. We all need love and all of our sin is a result of either reaction to trauma or a false identity, both works of the enemy. We are here to love each other no matter our past or current level of sanctification. We are here to come beside one another and war with one another in the heavenly realm. We are here to hold each others hands as we rise...or fall. We are here to find and give a place of safety and security. We are here to give and find a place where hope is abounding, not because life is easy or there are no problems, but because we are not alone in the realities of our lives.
Testing The Waters...
It can be challenging to join a small group and be vulnerable and transparent. We have all gone through pain and heartache from people we love hurting us or leaving our life. There is always a risk people in the group will
Helping Each Other Not Get Hurt
WARFARE Hopefully you've had a good experience with a small group in the past. But if you haven't, it is certain that the enemy was the cause. As most of us probably know, the enemy is always at our door seeking a way in. That is true of small group doors too. There are many spirits and lies to be on the alert for in yourself and other small group members. If you are to join a small group, please know that we encourage everyone in the group to openly discuss issues plaguing the group or individual issues regarding other group members. The only way the enemy's tactics can be destroyed is for them to be exposed, accepted for what they are - spiritual warfare, and warred against with group prayer until the issue is resolved in the heavenly realm. Here is a brief list of things to keep an eye out for.
Spirit of Offense - Feel someone has offended you? Or someone else feels that you have offended them? Chances are, the enemy used an innocent comment or gesture to try to sneak the spirit of offense into the group. It may start with only one person, but it will surely spread if not attended to. Bring it up in group, be honest about how you feel, there is probably a lie or two involved that someone will recognize as such and be able to help you break off the lies attached, reconcile with the person and cover you both in a group prayer. Chances are, you'll end up closer to this person than you were before the issue arose.
The Orphan Spirit - Feel like these people just aren't "your'e kind of people"...maybe feel like you don't fit in...chances are the enemy is behind it. We are all children of God. We are all here in an effort to come together and love each other brothers and sisters in Christ. We all want deeper more meaningful relationships with other Christians. We may have different gifting's, skin colors and backgrounds. But you may come to find, if you are transparent and vulnerable to the people in your group, they will open up too, and you will find how much the same you all are after all.
It is really important that you are at your group regularly. Every time a person is missing from group or a new person enters, the entire group dynamic changes dramatically. If you are always "trying" to make it to group and feel like you are too busy, just don't have time, or things keep coming up...it may be the enemy in disguise of your laundry and dishes. Your dishes, paperwork, kids or the like will all be better off if you have had a good dose of bonding and prayer with people who care about you. Being in a secure group that you spend regular time with will help strengthen your identity in Christ, give you a place to "vent" and activate your pre-frontal cortex (really.) Come regularly and see how great you feel compared to the weeks you miss.
My Way Mentality
Don't agree with the way group is being held? Don't agree with the way it is organized or how prayer is orchestrated? May be the enemy pulling up the old "I know best" card to get you stirred. Try to remember, we are people, we are very, very far from perfect. We are doing the best we can and trying to follow the Lord to the best of our ability. However, we truly believe two minds is better than one, and three better than two...and so on. So if you have an idea about group organization...please, let us know, right out loud, right in group! We appreciate that the Lord made all our minds to work differently and we know we are never worse off when all group members feel free to share their wisdom and experience with the rest of us. ;-)