Why be a Groupie?
Some members of the Norbury congregation attend Fellowship Groups, and find this enjoyable and rewarding. The benefits include growth in knowledge of the Bible and its application, and increasing confidence in extempore prayer. In addition a real sense of fellowship usually develops, which is not easy within the church services in a congregation of our size. The idea of small groups meeting informally is well established in the New Testament, and was important in the growth of the early Church, as recorded in Acts 1:12-14, 2:46,47, Romans 16:3-5 and Hebrews 10:24,25. Christians are always stronger when in the company of other believers, and there can be much mutual support. It is a sign of a healthy church when at least half of the congregation belong to groups.
The leaders at Norbury would very much like to encourage more people to try the experience of small group meetings, without any sense of obligation or pressure. It is appreciated that some folk would not be comfortable attending evening meetings, so there is provision for daytime groups, either morning or afternoon as required. In practice it need not be onerous on the host as different venues can be used in rotation. This tends to increase the social aspect, as visitors may choose to bring a jar of coffee or a packet of biscuits, or even help with the washing up afterwards. Social events can be arranged among the members, increasing the level of bonding and trust.
Help will be available for people wishing to form groups, especially in terms of the contents and organising of a meeting. A great deal of helpful material is available which may be borrowed from church. Each group will need one person, or ideally two people, willing to act as leaders, but this is no cause for panic! One experienced leader said he wanted his group to be a participatory democracy, with as many members as possible being willing to take responsibility for some aspect of each meeting, such as providing hospitality, leading the study, choosing some suitable music or hymns, and arranging a time of prayer. Hopefully, as the sense of trust and friendship develops most people will feel able to try at least some of these roles. Training can be arranged for anyone willing to have a go. You will not be examined or rated on your performance, but the rewards are potentially great for the individuals and the whole church. Please give this matter prayerful consideration.
What is a Fellowship Group?
For those who have never tried one, it probably conjures up a picture of a meeting of super-religious people who know the Bible backwards and can talk confidently and in a serious manner about theological matters. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Most members of Fellowship Groups recognise that they are on a spiritual journey and feel they need to be better equipped and informed about the way. There is reassurance in travelling with people in a similar situation and also with those who have perhaps been travelling for longer and who can share some of their experiences and acquired understanding.
To carry the travelling analogy further, somebody may ask, “Is the going hard?” It must be said that on occasions, tackling difficult-to-understand issues involves some effort, but mutual help from fellow members makes it that much easier, particularly when it is seen that everyone is finding it hard. And then comes the joy of sharing something special together, a revelation of understanding like the glorious view after a steep climb.
Is it all concentration and seriousness? No, there is plenty of fun and frivolity along the way, even hilarity. And for relaxation, there are social events.
Many friendships have been formed in Fellowship Groups. The members appreciate the fellowship shared and mutual support. A number of people have said to me that if they had known before what a Fellowship Group was really like, they would have joined one much earlier.
If you think there is a blueprint for a Fellowship Group, you would be wrong, as each group is made up of different people. That is why there is probably one to suit you. If you are thinking about joining a Fellowship Group or wondering now what you may be missing out on, speak to me
Trevor Tinson (0161-292 2397).