From the Curate -
Sitting at Jesus’s feet
Are you a member of any particular group? The small group form of meeting seems from the gospels to have been important to Jesus. In Luke’s gospel we learn that part way through Jesus’s Galilean ministry he went out to the mountain to pray for a whole night, and when he returned he chose just twelve out of his large crowd of followers to go on being his disciples. I wonder how the others felt when they learned that Jesus was going to share his life much more deeply with just these twelve people.
At the end of his earthly ministry, before he was taken up to heaven, Jesus commissioned his disciples to go on making disciples, baptizing and teaching them. The evidence suggests that as the church formed in its first few centuries small groups were an important part of that discipling process as they met in one another’s houses to pray and eat together.
In the run-up to the last revival in this country small groups also played an important part in the growth of the Church of England. Josiah Wedgwood wrote an account of the aims of the small groups associated with parish churches in London in 1698. ‘Their only design was to quicken each other’s affections towards spiritual things and to advance their preparations for another world; and, to this end, to assist each other to live in all respects as becometh the gospel.’1
While today most groups would perhaps choose different words to describe their aims, many churches nevertheless find small groups an important part of their fellowship, discipleship and mission. I know that I, for one, throughout my Christian life, have really appreciated being part of a mixed age group that meets regularly to encourage and support one another, to worship and pray together and to have a chance to study and discuss the bible in a relaxed atmosphere.
Jeff and I have had a number of enquiries about starting a small group for Astbury, Smallwood and Somerford. In his absence Jeff has asked me to sound people out to see if there would be sufficient interest to trial a twice-monthly group or groups on Wednesday evenings, starting in the new year. Our aim would be to make it an informal group doing effectively what the disciples did, sitting at Jesus’s feet. In other words we would meet together to chat, pray, worship and discuss a bible passage in the relaxed atmosphere of somebody’s home.
If that sounds like something you would be interested in, or if you would be able to host such a meeting at your house we would like to hear from you. I will put some sign-up sheets in the porch of each of the churches and if there is sufficient interest we will give it a try in the new year.
1 Woodward, I., (1744), An Account of the Rise and Progress of the Religious Societies in the city of London, and of their Endeavours for Reformation of Manners. London, Downing, 46
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