Circles Are Better Than Rows

Here at Next Level Church, one of our core values is You Can’t Do Life Alone. That couldn’t be more true.

I’ve always learned that as a follower of Jesus, you need to be in community with other believers. It’s just one of those things that has been engrained and driven into my brain since before I even surrendered my life to Jesus.

Sunday School wasn’t optional for me; I was in a room with at least 10 people my age from the time I was born up until high school, when we switched to table groups. Even then, I spent my Sunday mornings with three of my closest friends and a solid leader, two of whom I lived with my freshman year of college, worked with in ministry, and still regularly keep up with almost four years after graduation, and still spend time with our leader, who is my mentor.

God never intended for us to live life alone, and I’ve witnessed how great it is to live life in community with people who love Jesus and want to grow.

If you’re at Next Level and haven’t been a part of a Next Level group yet, you’re missing out. Because of the great fellowship and discussion we had this past Monday night, I can’t help but write about how important it is to connect with fellow believers. That’s the whole basis for this post.

Being a member of such a diverse group can be really hard. My first night at our group, I honestly was a little scared that I wouldn’t connect with anyone whatsoever; after all, I was new to the staff team, I hadn’t met but about a handful of people, and I still had good friends that live in the area.

Boy, was I wrong about that. Through this group, I’ve gotten closer to old friends like Stephen and Laura Smark, who I’ve known since the three of us were at Liberty Baptist. I’ve developed a deeper friendship with Stephen, who I work with and have a bromance with, and Brooke Haggerty, his wife. I’ve connected with Scott Hunt, who I’ve hung out with regularly and talked with for hours about Jesus, and who will be my roommate soon. I’ve met the Dominos, the Smithleys, Min, Benjamin, and Sarah, and have gained friends that won’t stay within the confines of our Monday night meetings.

Andy Stanley said, “Circles are better than rows.” In order to really grow outside of the church pews/rows/seats, we as believers have to go beyond sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with other church members once a week and actually sitting face-to-face with those members and “do life” together.

Tonight, we take step number one of a journey by launching Next Level Students, a time where our 6th-12th graders will be able to grow deeper through processing the Bible in small groups after a sermon. Our ministry is partially built around the principle that you can’t do life alone. That’s why we’re modeling this idea of Christian community and implementing it heavily within our service model. It’s THAT important.

Don’t live this life unconnected to others. I urge you. Life is so much more fun, so much more authentic, and so much more dynamic when you have Christ-following friends experiencing life with you.


How has being in a small group helped you grow? Who did you get to meet in that small group, and how have you gotten to know them?

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