One of our three objectives at SASS, listed in our mission statement, is that we “aspire to follow Christ’s teaching,” which corresponds to the second statement in our Framework for Ministry; “Growing in Christ together.”

In order for us to intentionally GROW together, to mature in our faith, to nurture one another to become better disciples of Jesus who follow Him by following his teachings, the Session believe that LIFE groups should become part of our ongoing life and ministry.

Are you in a LIFE group? Have you ever been in a LIFE group?

I am certain that for some people the answer to those two questions is “no” and I am also certain that there are very good reasons to answer that way to one, if not both of the questions.

The words “LIFE group” or "SMALL GROUP" for a lot of people cause two thoughts to race through their heads.

  1. “I don’t have the time.” People tend to think that small groups require a weekly evening commitment of 2 or even 3 hours, either at a home or at the church. Alongside this idea comes the assumption that couples should attend the group together which causes further stress around scheduling, mainly because of the need to organise child care.
  2. “Small groups are just another name for a Bible Study.” People tend to think that small groups are primarily focused on studying, which therefore require study resources and as such become very dependent on people willing to lead the group through the study, requiring a lot of preparation.

We would like to dispel these ideas. How? Through the following assertion. The Scriptural context for growing disciples is through relationships. That is, disciples are not produced by passively spending loads of time listening to lectures (or sermons), nor are they produced through attending programs, they are grown and nurtured in relationships.

So let me be clear on what that means for our objective for initiating small groups here at SASS.

It would be great to see the following three criteria being accomplished in every small group (whether it be a group of two or twenty two).

  • Study
  • Prayer
  • Sharing our lives – getting to know one another better – journeying together.

NOTE – Those bullets are NOT numbered. If they were numbered that would imply “study” is the primary objective. May I suggest re-reading those three points in REVERSE order. That may seem like a very strange thing for a Pastor to assert. Why?

Recently a colleague showed me a YouTube clip of a sermon by Bill Johnson, called “Friendship with God,” in which he said …

“It’s difficult to expect the same fruit of the early church when we value a book they didn't have more than the Holy Spirit they did have.”

The early church grew not through study, per say, but through small groups which were built on their sharing their lives with one another, and thereby growing in their relationship with God, through the indwelling Spirit. There is nothing wrong with studying, of course NOT. I hope we all study in some shape or form. Whether it be direct from the Bible, or using other fantastic literature which help us understand specific aspects of living Christianly in a world that is so non-Christian. But I believe that right now the one Biblical mandate that is essential to help us live as salt and light in the world is not individualism but in fact community; being in relational life-sharing groups, journeying together, supporting and caring, and praying, for one another.

So what might a LIFE GROUP look like for you?

Let me throw out a few ideas …

  1. If you work in the downtown core how about meeting with two others who work near you, once every two weeks, for a lunch, or an early morning 30 minute breakfast, during which you share with one another, get to know one another, start praying for one another, and perhaps in time you start discussing what the Spirit is nudging you about from a sermon, a passage of Scripture you have recently read, or even a book you can’t stop reading.
  2. If you are a stay at home parent who drops their kids off every morning to school, how about meeting two others who do likewise and going for coffee, or a walk, or a walk with coffee, once a week, and who knows where your walking might lead you together.
  3. If you are retired and love playing golf why not start a four-ball small group this Spring and who knows what other hobbies you might all end up doing, and the growth that will take place if you start sharing.
  4. If you have a hobby or interest that others have, and perhaps you are already meeting together to share that hobby, why not add a little more “intentionality” to the group in order to pray for and share with one another.

I believe the ways of “doing” a LIFE group are endless and the only person that knows what will work for you, is YOU!

No one will force you in to a LIFE group. For relationships to work they need to be organic, they need to be fun. They need all of you.

But we want to help in any way we can. We want to encourage you to form LIFE groups that work for 3 or 4 of you and LENT is as good a time to start as any! If you need some help in finding others then speak to your Connecting Elder, the church office, or Pastor Martin.

I would urge you to consider the following finer points as you consider the “make-up” of your group.

Keep them same sex, don’t be in a group with a close relative, and if possible try and incorporate a cross section of ages.

But most importantly, may God richly bless all of us in our endeavour to GROW in Him.

If you would like more information on one of our groups or advice on how to join one / begin one, please contact Pastor Martin -