I did not grow up in a church with a small group ministry, but I have become convinced of their necessity for the church in today’s culture. There is much I do not know and much I am learning about small group ministry. Suffice it to say that I am convinced of the ‘why’ while working out the details of the ‘how.’
Here are 10 reasons why churches should be committed to small groups. Each of these points are things that can and should take place as a result of small groups.
1- They foster relationships, which are crucial to spiritual growth. The church is about relationships–with God and with other believers. It is hard to foster these relationships during the 5 minutes before or after a worship service.
2- They provide avenues of accountability. God designed us to need accountability, however the worship service is not designed to provide it. Small groups do.
3- They are an effective way of reaching a postmodern society. Those who have grown up in a postmodern society are looking for authenticity, they thrive in genuine relationships, they love to ask and discuss hard questions, and they want to do so in a real-life setting. A small group ministry addresses these cultural realities in a biblically consistent way.
4- They foster authenticity. While it is easy to attend a worship service and wear a mask of hypocrisy, it is difficult to do so in a small group setting.
5- They supplement the worship service. The worship service cannot give the Christian everything he or she needs. The small group format provides a beneficial supplement.
6- Genuine fellowship cannot be practiced in a group of 1,000 or even 100. Biblical fellowship is a necessity, but this fellowship cannot be effectively practiced in large groups. Small groups help remedy this problem.
7- They provide opportunities for discipleship as well as outreach. Spiritual growth thrives in the small group environment. But they also provide opportunities for outreach. From members inviting unbelievers to the their small group to entire groups being involved in community projects, outreach can take place through these groups.
8- They promote mutual care, not just pastoral care. Christians are to care for each other. Far too many Christians walk into a service, sit, and then leave, never learning about the needs of others in the church or how to care for them. This is impossible in small groups.
9- Small groups help keep the church small. People generally like the atmosphere of small church. It resembles a family. However, as churches grow, sometimes that atmosphere is lost and people begin to feel disconnected. The small group ministry helps keep that atmosphere alive.
10- They model the early church. The above benefits are all characteristics of the early church. It cannot be ignored that they primarily functioned in smaller gatherings, not large groups.
While the application and implementation of small groups may vary from church to church, their benefits cannot be ignored. In fact, they should be pursued.
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