September 2, 2020
We All Need a Small Group
by Dr. Oliver Wagner
“And Noah with his sons (Shem, Ham and Japheth) and his wife and his sons’ wives went into the ark to escape the waters of the flood.” -Genesis 7:6
If my math is correct, that adds up to 8 people on Noah’s ark. While it would be fair to call them a family, for my purposes here I’d like to call them a small group. Just as Jesus created a small group when he called 12 disciples to live in community following and learning from him, so God ordered Noah and 7 others to board the ark so they would survive the drowning waters of the flood in community. We do better together than alone in life, and our relationships are stronger and more meaningful in smaller groups than in large crowds. After all, you can be in a large stadium of 50,000 and feel lonely!

I hope that brief introduction to the value and importance of small groups gets your attention in these challenging days of separation. The challenge for us today is to face the hardships we face and deepen our faith life together in community. APC is a large church, but it is the smaller groups within that large number where relationships deepen and support is shared best. I encourage each and every one of you who is a member or friend of the church to make an additional commitment and be sure you are also connected to a small group of the church.

Why a small group? Because God did not make us to live alone, but in community. In smaller groups which might range in size from 3 or 4 to 12 or 15, we can give and receive that kind of spiritual support. We need people with whom to connect and converse…even if it is by electronic means in these days. My Men’s Bible meets by Zoom and it is so good to see one another’s face, read scripture, share and pray together weekly. The choir is doing the same things with Zoom calls and the youth are meeting in small groups with masks outside on the church property. In small groups “everybody knows your name and is always glad you came.” Women’s circles, committee meetings and Sunday school classes are all small groups of a sort that keep us connected and in caring conversation with one another.

Here is your invitation and encouragement: be sure you are connected to a small group in the church. During this pandemic it is more important than ever. Think of a small group like an ark amid the floods! If you have one, great—stay on board. If you currently don’t, let’s get you connected today. Maybe you can start a new small group (build an ark!) or join an existing one (there is always room for one more!)  Call any of the pastors and we’ll try to help make it happen for you and through you.
O God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you desire that no one be alone or feel isolated. You call us be connected to each other in communities of care. Make it so for each of us, we pray! Let none of us weather life’s storms without a sturdy ark and a committed crew. Amen.
Alpharetta Presbyterian Church
180 Academy Street, Alpharetta, GA 30009