Ian Carmichael from Matthias Media offers some thoughts on small groups’.
“You’ve probably heard the old adage, ‘If you aim at nothing, you’ll most likely hit it’. When it comes to small group ministry in churches, not only can there be a shortage of aim-taking, but sometimes a lack of clarity the aim is. Try this quick quiz: A GrowGroup is:
1. A group of people sharing ideas—the leader is discussion facilitator.
2. A place for authentic community—the leader is a relationship enabler.
3. A context for learning the Bible better—the leader is a teacher.
None of these answers are really an adequate description of what a GrowGroup is. There is more to to it than sharing ideas or lives. And while we want the Bible to be the focus of our time together, there’s more to to it than just increasing people’s understanding of the Bible. We want to grow disciples of Jesus. Indeed, we want to grow disciple-making disciples. A GrowGroup is a place where Christians grow. It is also a catalyst for the growth of the gospel.
So the aim of our GrowGroups could be expressed: “to study the Bible together, pray, promote the gospel together, and serve and care for one another, so that we will take on the likeness of Christ as we wait for his return (Eph 4:11-16; Col 1:27-28)”. So the leader is a shepherd and an example of a disciple-making disciple—not just a teacher of content or a facilitator.
“But that broader goal for our growth groups won’t happen without prayer and planning—without setting some clear goals and pursuing them through what you do as a group. GrowGroup leaders (shepherds!), it’s your task to lead your group in that thinking and planning. To get you started, here are some ideas, taken from our upcoming Growth Group Notebook.
Connect with your local community by volunteering as a group. Seek to reach a particular group with the gospel Begin by praying for them when you meet, then think about how to reach these people and build relationships with them as a team. Run a group evangelistic activity. You could doorknock your neighbourhood, to do Christianity Explored with you as a group, having dinner together.
Meet one-to-one with young Christians for a term to help establish them in the faith. Visit church newcomers or invite them over for lunch.
Memorize a Bible passage. Read a Christian book together. Do a course together (e.g. Course of Your Life). Plan social time outside the group to build up your relationships.
Training Do a ministry training course together (e.g. So Many Questions, which will equip you to address common questions about Christianity,
Here’s one final suggestion: start small. Pick one activity from each category and aim to do one per term”
GrowGroup Leaders (Shepherds), If you’d like copies of Growth Group Notebook let me know and I’ll order for us in bulk.
FAITH | HOPE | LOVE