Just one person - Living in Relationship with Jesus through Thessalonians

Welcome to week 3 of a study from Let's Talk About Ministries "Living in relationship with Jesus" series. This 8 week study follows Paul's letters to the Thessalonians.

1 Thessalonians 3

Are you in a Life Group (small, home or cell group)? They are such a great way of connecting with people, especially in a large church where it can be hard to get to know people. It's a place where we learn about each others lives and grow in love toward God and one another. 

The people in our group are the those who build us up and encourage us, challenge us and comfort us. These are the people who cry with us, laugh with us and share our hopes and fears. This is our Life Group, where we do life together.

The difficulty comes when we let new people in. We've shared, we've loved and we've been vulnerable.  This new person makes the group uncomfortable and changes the dynamics. All of a sudden your life giving group has become a clique, no way in and no way out.

The group has become insular and self-serving, a friendship group gathering into a holy huddle. Feeding off each other we learn more about God and his character and grow in maturity and wisdom. And then we hold on tight, guarding it like a treasure. These treasures; knowledge, maturity, wisdom and character are not ours to keep - they are gifts to be given to give away.

I have seen leaders try to multiply groups, grow leaders and encourage them to step out and start their own groups without success. Group members get comfortable and they don't want to change. They don't want to change or be part of a group that's different. Some don't want the responsibility of a new group.

Where does that leave the new Christian and those young in their faith?

Paul's concern for the young Thessalonian church overcame his desire to keep his group together. In verse 2 he sends Timothy to strengthen and encourage the new church. I can imagine Timothy was doing a fine job of encouraging Paul and Silas, but Paul had the wisdom to know where the greater need was.

Paul and Silas were already firm in their faith and stronger than the Thessalonians. Paul was worried that they would have become discouraged by his persecution, he wanted Timothy to reassure them. He was concerned that any discouragement would lead them to fall away from faith.

If new, less mature Christians are not being encouraged and strengthened in their faith, they are in danger of being tempted away. Who is concerned about the new or struggling believers in your church?

I can already hear the cry, "It's not my job", "I like my group", "I don't have time" or "I don't know how to lead". I've heard them all and many more and I've uttered a few.

Here's the good news, you don't have to start a new group! Find one person. That's right just one person who is newer to faith or younger than you and stand with them. Walk alongside, answer questions, share your experiences and pray with and for them.

Connecting with one more person is a job for everyone, stop believing it's down to someone else. (Tweet this)

If you can't make time for an hour a week for a fellow believer, then you may need to seriously consider where you are investing your time.

Sharing one person at a time with Kelly Balarie and Holley Gerth

7 comments:

  1. I love the books of Thessalonians... filled with teaching on taking what's inside, and letting it spill over to others for the kingdom... some of those others may be new to the faith, or uncertain, or shy and need someone to step into their lives and walk with them. If we don't do it, who will? Assuming someone else will might rob that new believer of a lifeline and support needed to keep going.
    I pray your post inspires us all to find someone who may need Christ's love through us. Thanks Tania!!! Glad I was your neighbour at the #RaRaLinkup

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    1. Exactly that - thank you for stopping by and for you encouragement :)

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  2. I love these verses and especially the way you have bought them to life in this study. I suppose I’m what you’d call a mature Christian now. I became a servant of the Lord in 1996 – which seems only a year or two ago but, well you do the maths! But I have never really considered myself a ‘mature’ Christian or mature for that matter! Yes I’ve done a lot and have a good witness (I think) but I don’t consider myself a teacher or a leader in this way.

    I have found a gifting however as an enabler – being a wingman. Someone who encourages, -facilitates and organises others to be where God needs them - releasing others into their walk. For instance I love mission – I work in construction and have some skills there, I’ve been on several missions which focus on building or refurbishing facilities. These facilities are then used to bless other ministries which I have no gifting in whatsoever.

    I’m also blessed that I’m part of a micro-group. It started as an accountability group; a group where we could be totally honest; receiving support and prayer for anything from marital gripes to serious struggles with lives’ vices. It works well and we all encourage each other to stay strong and keep the faith. The founding members are all mature in faith and have total trust in one another.

    We recently discovered that there were 1 or 2 guys in our friend group who were in danger of not having this blessing. We discussed inviting them to join us – yes there was a risk that they would not honour this trust or that it would dilute the friendships we hold dear. We all, to a man agreed to them joining.

    This has been such a blessing; not only has it revitalised the group, its encouraged the older members to step up and witness to the younger, its encouraged the younger to lead bible studies which would never of happened elsewhere. They have assurance of prayer at any time – just by texting a request assured of our commitment to do so as set out in the group.

    Sure, trust is earned but trust can only be earned if those trusting can be vulnerable enough to allow them the opportunity to trust. We have helped the new members in our group through similar issues as we have journeyed through and we have seen their faith, witness and service flourish is way only God could have seen.

    This blessing was only possible by upholding the biblical principles you highlight. If we do not feed new faith, like fire it will soon smoulder and fizzle out. It is also worth remembering that as steel sharpens steel so good witness will fruit good witness.

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    1. A great witness to the blessing of helping 'Just one person' :)

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  3. This really hits home for me. I was in a life group that I adored. We had become incredibly close over the course of a few years. We decided to break into 3 groups in order to make room for more people to have the opportunity to join a life group through our church. Our church is very large and as you said, life groups are a wonderful way to connect much deeper. I was devastated at first, but it turned out to be a great and necessary change. It's always important to grow these groups and let new people in who need this type of community.

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    1. It is that fear of the change that often stops people and yet they miss out on the reward that you soon discovered - faith in action :)

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  4. Tania, you think of the least of these in this post. That is a beautiful display of your heart. May we not miss those who need encouragement. Much love to you. Cheering you on from the #RaRalinkup on Purposeful Faith.

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