Imagine this. You’ve been in an ongoing spiritual discussion with someone and are asked, “So what is the Gospel?” How would you answer? I had a pretty pat answer in mind until I spent time reflecting on the first four verses of Isaiah 61. This passage points out a bigger understanding of the Gospel than I’m used to thinking
Rather than evaluate the success of a small group by the percentage of a church’s people involved, I’m much more likely to ask questions about how people are demonstrating discipleship and mission in their lives. How are people growing in spiritual disciplines? How many are inviting friends to try out the group? How deep are the relationships within the group? How does the group care for one another and their neighbors?
The call of community isn’t about finding people just like us, at the exclusion of others. Community, in the biblical sense, is clearly about unlike people finding Christ at the center of their inclusive life together. Thus, issues of community reflect powerful dynamics of how God brings very diverse people together for his glory and his witness in the world.
If we want to develop ways of relating in groups that results in mission, then we as pastors must look at what we are emphasizing. Let me simply list five points.
During advisory committee sessions at Synod 2010, delegates will have times of reflection and dialogue based on Bill Hull's The Disciplemaking Pastor. I read it years ago, and now reflecting on going back to a disciplemaking mode in my life and ministry again.
Recruiting small group leaders in a way that casts vision and presents leadership as a God-given opportunity will contribute to the health of a church's small group ministry. This tool gives suggestions on where to find potential leaders and how to go about recruiting them.
Recruiting small group leaders is an on-going task of the Small Group Leadership Team. This resource provides suggestions on key traits to consider when recruiting small group leaders and allows you to map groups by type, age and gender.
Sometimes small groups or individuals might feel like they are "lonely little petunias in an onion patch". This longing may be the Holy Spirit’s nudging to shape small groups that exist not merely for the sake of experiencing community, but for the sake of participating in God’s redemptive plan.
The resources on this website help small group leaders in their vision to build life-tranforming community in their settings. You'll find study materials, coaching helps, information about conferences and small group campaigns; all designed to help tranform your community through community.
Are you looking for study materials for your small group? Be sure to check out Faith Alive's many resources. You'll find topical studies as well as Bible studies, all designed to help people grow as disciples of Jesus.
This site takes a broader look at church leadership. Those involved in church leadership on a variety of fronts will find valuable samples, downloads, training tools, and opportunities to connect with other leaders. Small Group leaders will especially like the tab, "Mentor and Disciple."
I’m concerned with developing small groups of people who covenant to a shared life together as they grow in Christlikeness and join God’s mission together. That leaves me with this question. How do we establish counter-cultural groups in a culturally relevant way?