The Small Group and Bible Study
The passage in Hebrews 10:22-25 exhorts us to “hold fast the confession of our hope… .” While we may be accustomed to defining the essence of our Christian faith in other ways, Christianity involves not only a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, but also an entirely different outlook on life that is grounded in the hope we have for all that God has promised. That outlook on life is so contrary to the world that believers need to give careful attention to ensure their anchor is well grounded.
The currents working in our society and the winds of worldly thinking can get pretty strong at times. To secure that anchor, God has provided the Church in all its various expressions, of which the local OCF fellowship is one. In the Church, He intends His followers to meet together for fellowship and encouragement, centered around the truth and promises of His Word.
Historically, OCF has encouraged the leading of a Bible study from scratch rather than simply studying a Christian book or being taught by a video. A study of God’s Word itself is usually more profitable than the study of another book, video or other tape about God’s Word. As in most secular studies, the closer one gets to the original source, the more accurate and authentic the work is perceived. This is the case in Bible study. Use Christian books and videos as exceptions and variations rather than the regular weekly diet.
The Small Group and Ministry
The third exhortation in the passage from Hebrews 10 has to do with ministry—“stir up one another to love and good deeds.” Another function of a small group is to serve as people resources for ministry. This should happen individually. It may also happen collectively as a group.
You can think of it as burning those spiritual calories gained by feasting on the riches of God’s Word. God never intended us to get fat on His Word, rather, to receive the spiritual nourishment necessary to go out and serve Him. Often a small group of believers will realize a synergy whereby the total effect is much greater than the sum of the individual parts.
What a great opportunity to discuss group ministry possibilities with the local installation chaplain and prayerfully select a ministry project that the OCF small group can own. Just as in the rearing of our children, unity of heart and spirit occurs not only in the fun activities of life but in the work activities as well. In group settings such as these, the work becomes fun!
This article originally appeared in COMMAND magazine, or an OCF Ministry Report.