Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Rhythm of My Spiritual Life Is a Rolling Circle


When I became a follower of Jesus forty-seven years ago I was an undergraduate at Northern Illinois University. I began to attend a campus ministry. I was asked if I wanted to be in a Small Group for Bible study and prayer. I was told this experience would be one of the keys to my spiritual vitality and growth.

That proved true. I've been in a Small Group all forty-seven years of my Christian life. Linda and I have been in a Small Group Community all the years of our marriage (forty-four years together!).

The early Jesus-followers met in small groups; in homes, in upper rooms, wherever they could find a gathering place. Small Group Community was essential to the explosive spiritual and numerical growth of the early church. It's also essential to my spiritual life and growth.

The rhythm of my spiritual life looks like this:

I meet alone with God. I spend time with God in "the secret place." 
This is the Very Small Group (VSG) - God and I.

I meet weekly in a Home Group to study Scripture and pray together. 
This is the Small Group (SG) - 6-12 people.

I meet Sunday mornings to worship and listen to the preached Word on Sunday mornings and other times.
This is the Large Group (LG)

Today is Wednesday morning, and I have spent time alone with God in the VSG.

Ruth Haley Barton writes:

"The raw gift of leadership may be there—as it certainly was for Moses—along with a strong sense of what is right and what we think needs to be done in this world. But our leadership cannot be a force for good if it is not being refined by the rigors of true solitude, that place where God is at work beyond what we are able to do for ourselves or would even know how to do for ourselves." (Ruth Haley Barton, Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership: Seeking God in the Crucible of Ministry, p. 43)

VSG-SG-LG; VSG-SG-LG...  over and over again and again.

It looks like this:



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You can read about how I spend time in the VSG in my book Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God.