What Does “Living Life Together” Really Mean?
“Living Life Together” is one of the three essentials of College Park Small Groups, and it represents the practical ways that we should experience true community in our Small Groups. Let’s explore what this essential doesn’t mean before looking at what it means:
What “Living Life Together” Doesn’t Mean
- Meeting all of my relational needs: Small Group relationships are important and should help us feel a sense of belonging and the ability to find hope together in Jesus. But a Small Group won’t satisfy every relational craving I have. I need to have healthy relationships outside of the Small Group, and I need to find my ultimate intimacy satisfied in Jesus (John 15:5).
- Finding my group for life: Life comes in seasons, and it is unrealistic to expect my current group to be my group for the rest of my life. Also, groups should be willing to multiply (create new groups) so that stagnancy isn’t an option and more people can experience community and new godly relationships.
- Instant friend machine: Belonging is an important part of life; we weren’t meant to be alone. However, we can’t come into a group expecting to instantly have friends. Relationships take time and effort.
What “Living Life Together” Does Mean
- Being accountable: We want to “stir up one another to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24). Heart-level conversations to help each other grow and repent from sin should be happening during the regular group gathering time (sometimes in the discussion time, often in the prayer time) as well as at other times.
- Fellowship: Having a scheduled informal get-together with the group (like a monthly pizza night) can be a great way to fellowship outside of the Small Group gathering. Or inviting others from your group to impromptu times together can also provide a time to relax and enjoy others in a less structured environment.
- Serving God together: Finding local ministry opportunities, opportunities at church, or evangelism efforts can help groups live out their faith together (and grow stronger relationships at the same time).
- Experience regular daily activities: Attending a basketball game of one of the family’s children (or other such events) can go a long way in building relationships.
- Quick touch points: A quick email or text throughout the week is a great way to encourage each other and stay connected.
A Healthy Spectrum
While “Living Life Together” looks different from group to group, there are two ditches to avoid:
- Having no contact with one another outside of the regular gathering time
- Or becoming so relationally “ingrown” as a group that accepting anyone else into the group or multiplying a new group is out of the question.
Each group can find a place on the spectrum that is healthy and balanced, and each individual in the group should come with appropriate expectations.
Remember: Small Group is not an event; it’s a group of people that you are committed to. When we actually share our lives with one another, we not only grow closer to others in the group, but we bring glory to God who has told us “just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34).
Paul Nystedt is the Pastoral Resident for Community at College Park Church. He provides assistance with Small Groups, Men’s Ministries, and Discipleship. Paul graduated from Bethlehem College and Seminary, where he received his Master of Divinity. He and his wife love spending time with their two boys, family, and friends.