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By Marian Lensink

Imagine with me for a moment: it’s the year 2015, and your church has the most amazing Small Groups. These Small Groups are the talk of the town. They are involved in transforming lives and neighborhoods. They are places of support and learning, of reaching out and serving, and of loving God and loving others in various ways. These groups are the church on the move; they are people being church and doing church. They are living out the Greatest Commandments, while fulfilling the Great Commission.

So what do these groups look like? What are some words that describe these groups? You might say welcoming, loving, caring, supportive. You might also say things like praying, learning and serving. Could we add honest, authentic, accountable, active, selfless? As you brainstorm, you might add many more of your own descriptive characteristics here.

So what are the barriers? Let’s brainstorm again, to name them. Perhaps we’d say cliques, tradition, history, busyness, individualism, consumerism, judgmental attitudes, etc. Your list would be specific, unique to your congregation.

And finally, what do we need to do to overcome these barriers? This is our chance to name what the issues are and to begin to identify what we might do to move forward.

The above exercise can be an effective tool, in beginning or revitalizing your Small Group Ministry. It can be done with a large group from your congregation who has a heart for Small Groups, or with your council, or organizing team. The key points are listed here:

  • Imagine what Small Groups might be like, if we fulfilled the dream of what God is calling us to do. What do we hear God saying to us?

  • What are the challenges and barriers, specific to this congregation that would need to be addressed and overcome?

  • What are the next steps to overcoming the barriers so that we can move forward? What do we need to do now?

Your congregation will begin with a dream. They will name their own barriers. They will begin to name the steps needed to move forward. They will own the dream. They will know the barriers. They will be excited about the next steps.

And finally, as a congregation, you must begin with prayer. Ask God to show you his vision for what these groups would look like. Ask Him to help you dream. Trust Him to lead you through.

If you’d like more information on using this exercise in your church please contact a Ministry Developer in your region or call 1-888-644-0814.

Download the Imagine a Small Group Ministry Worksheet.

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