by Reid Smith
Imagine yourself in a family room with some of your friends and Jesus showed up. Do you think you’d be the exact same person afterwards as you were before? Nope! Things would of course be different in your life! People are transformed when they experience the presence of God.
A truth about groups that we don’t talk about nearly as much as we should is how Jesus is in our midst every time we gather. The Lord promises to be in the midst of two or three who come together in His name (Matthew 18:20). When Jesus inhabits an environment that believers occupy together in His name, the space changes—and so do we.
God conveys His grace to people in a unique and powerful way because of their faithfulness to come together in His name (Acts 4:31, 33). Therefore, when believers gather in Jesus’ name, they are placing themselves at the mouth of the river of God’s life-changing grace. As a leader, you want to tell group members to expect transformation because of what happens when we gather in Jesus’ name.
Where two or more come together in Jesus’ name…
- Believers are awakened to God’s leading and purpose.
- The gathering becomes a springhead for spiritual renewal.
- The light of God’s grace reaches into the unwanted dark areas sin wants to keep isolated
- A way is cleared for intimacy with Christ.
- People see more of God and experience Him more personally (1 John 4:12).
- Oneness with Christ is experienced more fully through unity with one another, which strengthens the evangelistic impact of your church (John 17:20-23).
- God’s presence is experienced more powerfully.
- People feel God’s acceptance and are open to the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
- All the vital purposes of the church can be fulfilled.
- Lives become more deeply rooted in the person of Jesus Christ.
- Freedom reigns, and chains of temptation and addiction are broken (2 Corinthians 3:17).
- God’s Word engages in fresh ways.
- Believers are empowered to reach out with the transformative love of Christ.
- Lives are changed forever.
Communicating these effects of gathering in Jesus’ name can actually build the faith of the participants and shift the atmosphere of a group. It never hurts to remind people that our God is Immanuel, “God with us.” Oftentimes, I’ll weave these truths into a prayer as I open the group’s time together.
As one who influences the environments of groups, don’t miss the incredible opportunity to tell people they should expect transformation every time they gather in Jesus’ name! In other words, when we come together to do the things Jesus has commanded us to do in His Word, we are changed—every time. Biblical community grows stronger when we help those gathered with us to focus on the awesome reality of Jesus’ presence.
Reid Smith has been equipping leaders in churches of all sizes and stages of growth for effective disciple-making since 1996. He lives in Wellington, Florida where he serves as a Groups Pastor at Christ Fellowship. You can find more of his helpful resources at www.reidsmith.org.