Church is good, very good, but it’s not enough. Many new believers, and older believers as well, expect to find all they need for their spiritual growth in church, but church only waters what is already growing. There’s still need for pruning and sunlight and more. Whether it’s in a bible study group, women’s group, youth group, men’s fellowship or whatever, being part of a smaller fellowship of believers is another important aspect of Christian growth. For instance, when married women come together in a small women’s fellowship, they feel free to share at a deeper level issues that are unique to them. They can laugh together, they can cry together, they can draw strength from each other’s experiences as compared to the larger congregation that includes people from all walks of life.
The same goes for each kind of group. Something happens when you mingle at a deeper level with other believers, especially those you can identify with. You realize that others go through the same (maybe even worse) challenges than yourself, you find encouragement from other believers, you’re shaped by each other’s strengths, you learn from each other’s weakness. And there’s also reprove – it’s easy to go unchecked at the larger congregation where no one intimately knows you, but in a smaller group, there is greater accountability. All these help shape your character and ground your walk. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).