Throughout Jesus’ ministry we see Him ministering to large groups of people who came out to hear Him speak. He taught, anointed, healed and fed crowds. Crowds or large groups can exhibit Holy Spirit power such as we see in an anointed church service. But crowds can be noisy – cheering, clapping, shouting.
From conferences to concerts, we can experience Holy Spirit power in large groups. We can experience passion and purpose.
I had the privilege of going to Toronto, Canada, to outpouring services held there called the Toronto Blessing. Thousands attended. In the 4 days I was there I had some terrific things happen to me. I laughed till I cried and cried till I laughed. The Holy Spirit moved and touched people in the most unusual ways. Laughter was the mark of this move of God. He knew we must have needed it. I was also prayed over, laid under glory waves (flags), and even got stuck on the floor for twenty minutes! It was great fun. But I realized later that the Holy Spirit’s purpose of all the fun and power was to motivate me to forever follow Him!
However, there is really something to be said for being in a small group of believers. It seems Jesus liked small groups, too. Let’s look at why:
Small groups are personal and close up. People are touchable. It’s called intimacy. Small groups are quiet, not loud and soft, not hard. By quiet I mean restful – no performance is required. And by soft, as in Psalm 23, I mean “tender green pastures” and “restful waters.”
If you think about it, Jesus picked a small group to change the world! Twelve disciples were knit close together with Him. And even then, He hung around a lot with just 3 – Peter, James and John. Jesus loved to rest and fellowship with Mary, Martha and Lazarus in their home in Bethany.
Jesus even had a small group on Calvary. His cross hung between 2 thieves. One of them said “remember me.” Jesus said OK. No questions. No reservations. No sinner’s prayer. Just up close and personal.
In John 1, Jesus begins calling the disciples. He wasn’t in a large group asking for volunteers. The call came and was answered in a small group of 3-5 people. Callings happen here. Revelation happens here. Doubts can be expressed and questions can be answered in small groups. And, spirit recognizes spirit here.
The two disciples on the road to Emmaus had the full small group experience. So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus himself drew near and went with them” Luke 24:15. In close intimacy with Jesus you can find a greater revelation of Him. Later those two disciples said to each other: Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us? (Luke 24:32)
Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him (Luke 24:31) Have you had this experience?
Small groups in our homes or in our church can provide the right atmosphere for the intimacy Jesus responds to. He can work with that transparency to shed His light on our hearts, our motives and our reasoning.
From classes to fun groups, from Bible studies to mission trips, we learn from each other. This closeness often leads to deeper, intimate friendships and kindred spirits bonding together.
Jesus loves small groups. He loves to show up in them. He especially loves to show out in them. Are you in one?
God created us for relationship – with Him and others. A small group can connect you to others and you can grow – closer to each other and closer to Jesus. Then, when Jesus unveils Himself to you, your heart will burn with love and passion. Your eyes will be opened and you, too, will know Him.
(If you would like to make Jesus the Lord of your life, just pray this prayer: “Lord Jesus, I repent of my sins. Come into my heart. I make you my Lord and Savior”)