Worship in Small Groups is about growing in our relationship with God through cultivating a heart for Jesus. To worship God means to know Him and love Him. To know Him means actively learning about His character and nature, but also relating to him in the context of community. We learn about God by studying Scripture together, praying to God, and trusting his Spirit as he leads, guides, teaches, corrects, and encourages us. As we continue to learn more about God, our affections will continue to rise in adoration for Him for what has done, is doing, and will continue to do. This should stir in our hearts a greater adoration and deeper affection for Jesus. We deserve none of his benefits, yet He gives us so much more than we can ever think or imagine. As a result of his love for us, we are to love His family -- his people. This means that we are to embody the love of Jesus in the context of our communal relationship by living well to God and others.
Discipleship is the practice of taking all of life under the Lordship of Jesus. In Small groups discipleship aims at transformation of the mind through communal engagement with the Gospel and growth in biblical knowledge. Knowing the Gospel is fundamental to grow in our relationship with Jesus. As we grow in our trust of Jesus as Lord, we then gain knowledge about his will, how to obey, and how to help others grow in their relationships with God by submitting to Jesus in every area of life. As a result of our obedience by the work of the Spirit, we will be experiencing victory in our life as we continue to submit it all of our lives under his Lordship.
Serving in Small Groups is where our knowledge of God is expressed tangibly. It's where the head and hand meet. Our Small Groups are our source of comfort and encouragement when life gets hard. The basis of our service is love. We do everything out of love because God first served us in love by giving his only Son (1 John 4:10ff). We serve each other anytime a need arises. The reason for our mutual service is twofold. First, we serve because God has served us. Secondly, we serve because we are a family and in our mutual service, we are expressing our love for each other.
In Small Groups, we practice the art of celebration. We celebrate the small and the big. When we learn our neighbors name, we rejoice at the small victory of being missional. When a mem- ber overcomes sin, we celebrate the victory of God in their life. When a child of our small group has a birthday, we celebrate their life, because they are a gift. We celebrate in Small groups because God has given us, not only good gifts (jobs, relationships, freedoms), but he has given us his greatest gift, His Son, Jesus. Celebration and Thanksgiving are uniquely tied together as an expression of gratitude towards God and each other. Our celebration derives from our gratitude towards God. We also celebrate in the midst of a suffering, decaying world, because Christ is in the process of renewing all things. Therefore our celebration is an act of defiance against the principalities, authorities, and ensuing sufferings that would seek to destroy us.
In Small Groups, discipleship is the means for accomplishing God's mission through the Church. Therefore, discipleship must be missional -- "other" oriented. I must disciple someone else. As a Small Group, we seek to disciple others for the purpose of sending them out in order to disciple others. Discipleship is multiplication. In Small Groups, we seek to bring the gospel to those who are in our spheres of influence, be it neighbors, coworkers, or the places that we frequent. We send others our from us for two reasons. First to be a Christian means to be on mission to disciple those who do know the love of the Father. Second, we recognize that we will enjoy our eternal fellowship and joy in heaven, which is why we don't need to remain in our clicks here. Yes, it is painful to separate, but necessary because there are those who remain far off and alienated from God. We have been given a mission to extend the gospel, and as such we will rest from that mission when the Lord takes us home or comes back.