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“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25
What does ‘meeting together’ actually mean? Why is it so important as a parent? And how do we make it happen?
Are we talking church once a week?
Well, yes, partly.
It’s good for us and our kids to grow up within a church family, getting into that pattern of meeting together regularly as a bunch of believers.
And actually the kids’ groups in most churches model a really good form of meeting together. Even Mister, at just 3, is in a small group where there is opportunity to chat stuff through – this doesn’t usually happen at ‘grown-up’ church!
The importance of small groups
So, much as church is important, of immense value is the small accountability group model: somewhere safe, with good relationships, where you can be honest with others. This could mean simply finding another Christian to pray with on a regular basis, and some of my friends do this. What a great way to grow your faith as a young parent!
One of the downsides to online ‘meeting together’, e.g. Facebook or Instagram, is that you tend to see only people’s highlights. Before long, you start to believe that everyone else frequents luxury spas on a weekly basis, has genius children who look great in every photo, and an incredibly romantic husband who brings home thoughtful gifts each night of the week.
When you are in real relationship with others, you see everything: the highlights, the lowlights, the in-between-lights. I believe this is one of the reasons why we need to take seriously those verses in Hebrews.
My small group experience
I am incredibly fortunate to belong to a daytime cell group for mums.
Every Monday afternoon, a group of mums gather together in our study for an hour to worship, read the Bible, chat about it, and pray together. For someone who rarely goes to the toilet without interruption from a Small Person, this is a Big Thing.
Our children, meanwhile, are being superbly entertained in the lounge by some wonderful creche volunteers. Honestly, these guys are unsung heroes. I try to tell them how much their work is appreciated, but I don’t think they believe me. While they’re building towers, bopping to nursery rhymes, sorting out snacks, reasoning with toddlers, rocking babies and being jumped on (often simultaneously), lives are being changed in the next room.
Does that sound overdramatic?
Sure, it’s a gradual thing, but when I look back over the last 12 months and see where God has taken me, I know I owe a huge amount to this group. My faith could easily have become stagnant during this phase of early motherhood. Instead, the input of others, their challenge, their making me think – God is using these things to draw me, and many others, closer to Him.
And it’s something as simple as playing Duplo with my kids for an hour that enables this life-change – this growing of my mustard-seed faith – to happen. It’s not just knowing God is there somewhere in the background, it’s seeing Him do amazing things during these otherwise desert years. Exciting!
If you’re a young parent, how do you continue ‘meeting together’ with other Christians? If you don’t yet, have you thought about starting something? Meeting up with a Christian friend regularly? Or getting the parents in your church together for a social?