“Wow! That was a fabulous small group time”, my wife and I told each other as we left.  I walked away from our small group on Sunday deeply encouraged.  We had a group of 12 people, some new to the group and some have been together for a number of years. Some of us have never met before and some had been walking together through this life for years. The encouragement I felt didn’t come from anything extraordinary or out of place that happened. It was basically a simple small group where we had some unstructured time to connect, did a Bible study and then prayed for each other.  Pretty routine stuff. It’s basically what we do every time we get together.

Then what was it that had me so exhilarated?  It was hard to put my finger on. I really had to think about why this group time was so good for my soul. One reason is the privilege of just being together with the people that have been in the group for a long time. Just going through the ups and downs of life with a small group of people is so encouraging.  Walking with each other through bad medical diagnosis, unemployment or bad employment, concussions, bad backs difficulties with children.  Walking with each other through the joys of answered prayers, new jobs, and restored relationships.  Encouraging each other to go hard after God and put your trust in him when we can’t see any good reason to do that. We have a really good group.

But I had known that for a long time, so that wasn’t the full reason for all my encouragement. Then it dawned on me. I was most excited because the new people that had come to the group were going to get to experience that same deep connection that I have got to experience over the last couple of years.  A while ago our group decided that we needed to add new people to the group so others could experience the community that was so encouraging to us. Now we have added so many new people that we are going to have to multiply and start another group.  But that is exciting because God wants to be sharing and multiplying his love and grace to others.  That’s what he has called us to do.  Now that is encouraging!