To create a culture of discipleship, a church needs great small groups that do the right things, led by committed leaders who do the right things. Consider how a small group can be strategic in a church’s ministry.
Small groups bridge the gap from truth to life
Sermons are important, but small groups take people farther in their pursuit of God. We grow by discovering and sharing God’s truth with others. That process only gets started in a Sunday service. In small groups, people can learn and apply the truth together.
Small groups are a logistical necessity
No one person can pastor everyone. In fact, God’s design is for pastors to equip others to do the ministry.
Ephesians 4:11-12 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.
Moses struggled with the burden of caring for God’s people until he learned to divide the care into smaller groups.
Exodus 18:13-22 Moses took his seat to hear the people’s disputes against each other. They waited before him from morning till evening…. “This is not good!” Moses’ father-in-law exclaimed. “You’re going to wear yourself out—and the people, too. This job is too heavy a burden for you to handle all by yourself…. Select from all the people some capable, honest men who fear God and hate bribes. Appoint them as leaders over groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten. They…will help you carry the load, making the task easier for you.
Small groups allow everyone in a church to receive pastoral care – not from one overworked pastor, but from people who know them best.
Discipleship happens in three important settings: family, small groups, and individual mentoring relationships. Small groups help prepare people to lead spiritually at home. They also provide a great place to form mentoring relationships.
Small groups are intentional about making disciples
It takes a certain kind of group to help people pursue God. Many groups do truth and relationships well. That’s important. But most small groups miss a third vital element: they don’t create disciples who make disciples.
Helping people pursue God is the calling of every Christian, not just a few pastors or leaders. That defines the top priority of small groups. Then, as a group makes disciples who make disciples, the natural result is that the group will reproduce itself in new groups.
Small groups are led by committed leaders
To make disciples, a group’s leaders must be committed to two essential tasks.
- Create a healthy group environment. Help people be invitational. Help them discover God’s truth together. Build a trusting group. Prepare the group to reproduce itself.
- Develop the people in the group. Help people care about each other. Mentor disciples and train them to mentor other disciples. Develop a team of co-leaders.
Leading a group is challenging, so it’s important to know your part versus God’s part. Only God can work in people to bring life, motivate, and transform. As you are faithful to do your part, you can trust God to do his.
If you want to lead a small group, get in a group and participate. Learn the ropes under an experienced leader. Complete Small Group Training. Go through Mentor Training.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- Think of the best small group you have been a part of. What made it a great group?
- What are the relative strengths of a sermon versus a small group discussion? How do the two work together to make disciples?
- Have you ever experienced pastoral care in a small group setting? How did it impact your life?
- What do you think will eventually happen in a small group that is not intentional about making disciples who make disciples?
- What are the most important personal traits that will help a small group leader succeed? Explain your answer.
- As you prepare to lead a group, how does it help you to keep in mind your part versus God’s part?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.
- [How to: Use pursueGOD.org in your life]
- [How to: Download a video]
- [How to: Download an article]
- [Related Topic: The Three Truth Sharing Environments]
- [Related Resource: Small Group Leader Job Description]
- [Related Topic: Your Role and God’s Role in Making Disciples]
- [Related Series: Mentor Training]