Whether they meet in homes, parks, restaurants, college dorm rooms, or offices, these groups form the heart and soul of who we are as the body of Christ. By the way, these groups aren’t intended to be just another church event or something to fill a slot on people’s calendars. Our vision is for everyone to be part of a group with other individuals who are willing to grow in their faith together, to support one another, to encourage one another, and to celebrate with one another.

Such groups reflect Paul’s desire for believers: “So it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other” (Romans 12:5, NLT). We need people in our lives who are willing to share in the good and the bad, the ups and the downs. In the second year of our church, a man in one of our small groups had cancer and lost all his hair to chemo. While the group members offered all kinds of practical support, one of the most moving things the other men did was to shave their heads too. They wanted their friend to know they were standing with him.

No one should have to deal with a disease like cancer alone. No one should have to sit in a hospital waiting room alone while their spouse or child or parent is in surgery. No one should have to wait for test results to a biopsy alone. No one should have to stand at an open grave alone. No one should have to go through a divorce alone.

We need each other.

Chris Hodges and Craig Groeschel, Fresh Air: Trading Stale Spiritual Obligation for a Life-Altering, Energizing, Experience-It-Everyday Relationship with God (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale Momentum, 2012).