Small groups at Westkirk are one of the ways that we seek to engage in discipleship. They are an opportunity for us, as believers, to grow in holiness (Ephesians 4:11-16; WCF 25.3), model Christ, and nurture one another as we walk together through life. Small groups provide a venue in which believers can spend time in the Word, pray together, fellowship with one another and go out to serve the Lord in our communities.
Spending time together in the Scriptures is one of the central aspects of our small groups. God has been pleased to reveal himself to us in his Word (WCF 1.1) and so we only properly make progress in sanctification by knowing who he is and what he requires of us (WSC 1-3). It is through this time reading and applying God’s Word that we will experience the deepest fellowship with one another, sweetest accountability in holiness, and the greatest conviction to pursue mission together.
In conjunction with time in the Word, small groups give the opportunity for us to pray together with other believers (Matt. 18:20; Rom. 12:12; James 5:13). This is a time to ask the Lord to use his Word in our lives to change us into the image of Christ. It is a time to confess our sins together (James 5:16). It is a time for us to praise the Lord for what he has done (Col. 4:2). It is a time to intercede for other believers, local and abroad (Phil. 4:5-7). It is a time to petition the Lord for the salvation of those who are lost in their sins.
Small groups provide a unique opportunity for believers to fellowship with one another (WCF 26.1-2). Jesus tells us that we are to love one another as he has loved us (Jn. 13:34-35, 15:12). The small group setting is a wonderful place for this kind of love to be displayed. When we work toward this kind of close fellowship we have the opportunity to “bear one another’s burdens” (Gal. 6:2), share material blessings with those who are in need (2 Cor. 9:13), gently correct each other when we are in sin (Gal. 6:1), support one another in times of distress (1 Cor. 12:26; Rom. 12:15), and encourage one another’s faith (Rom. 1:11-12; 1 Thess 5:11, 14). Fellowship is an important aspect of our union with Christ and with one another.
Through the Word, prayer, and growing fellowship, we pray that small groups would be motivated by the power of the gospel and a love for Christ to reach others and serve where God has gifted each person (Heb 10:24-25; James 1:22-25). Small groups ought not to be merely focused inward but have an outward face as well. This will look different in every small group, but at the very least, small groups should be spurring one another on to engage in personal evangelism with unbelievers.