Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-25. How does the human body provide an excellent illustration of working together harmoniously in small groups?
Paul not only reveals the importance of spiritual gifts in the life of the church, he also suggests a model of how they can be organized. He discusses spiritual gifts in the context of the body of Christ and how it can work.
A study of anatomy and physiology reveals that the organs of the body are organized into different interrelated systems. For example, the digestive, cardio-vascular, respiratory, and skeletal are just a few of the body’s complex organ systems. Spiritual gifts are like the different parts of the body. They function best when organized into systems or groups. In fact, in most cases they cannot function alone. Our bodies are not just a lump of separate organs free-lancing away at whatever they do. Each bodily function is organized into a tightly-knit system that works together toward a common goal.
All this tells us something about the environment in which we can best use our spiritual gifts. It is so easy to get discouraged when we function alone, but when we are part of a small group with people of similar interests and goals, we find that our efforts can be much better focused and greatly magnified.
Small groups provide the best environment to exercise our spiritual gifts and can become the heart of a local congregation’s outreach ministry.
Ellen G. White underlines the value of small groups in these words: “The formation of small companies as a basis of Christian effort has been presented to me by One who cannot err. If there is a large number in the church, let the members be formed into small companies, to work not only for the church members, but for unbelievers. If in one place there are only two or three who know the truth, let them form themselves into a band of workers. Let them keep their bond of union unbroken, pressing together in love and unity, encouraging one another to advance, each gaining courage and strength from the assistance of the others”. — Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, pages 21, 22.
Small group ministry is ordained by God to enable each church member to grow spiritually, experience warm fellowship, and utilize their God-given gifts in service.
|Reflect on Ellen G. White’s statement above. Analyze it phrase by phrase. How can this divine counsel be implemented in your church?|