Given our busy, individualistic Western lifestyle, a once-a-week small group may be too much to ask of a lot of people, but obviously not all. Those who have a vision to experience community that transforms lives and cities are ready.
... today my small group world and work-out world collided when I saw a sign advertising “Small Group Personal Training.” For a very reasonable price we are offered the opportunity to get the benefits of a personal trainer in a small group setting. The sign promoted other benefits of these small groups:
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.
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.
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."