Healthy small groups can foster some of the most meaningful and helpful relationships within a church. Perhaps the idea that the sum is not greater than its parts can be said of a church and its small group ministry. These are simply some of my notes and thoughts on how to help small groups be intentional in their pursuit of Christ-likeness.
1. Spend Time “Together”
This may seem simple, but in today’s fast paced world, everyone is pressed for time. One large, lump sum of time will not cut it. In the business world there is the 10,000-hour principle for mastering a particular skill. In other words, it takes a lot of consistent time and dedication in one direction to master something. It also takes many small interactions with people to build lasting, deep friendships.
For small groups this means sending an email and asking questions so that you get a response. Leaders should be sending out text messages to the individuals and group to keep everyone informed of the latest happenings in life. It means early morning coffees or late night game nights. It means letting people see the house in a mess and the kids melting down to build the relationships that can go to the next level. Time is something that this generation says they do not have enough of, but the Netflix and Facebook accounts beg to differ. What is more valuable to your small group?
2. Talk Together
The first “together” is in quotes because people are able to be with one another, but not in the same room. However, for our next step there must be personal face-to-face conversations happening. These interactions should be done with purpose for both parties involved. It may be easy to go to the small group and say the one or two prayer requests and then not listen to everyone else’s request. Or, simply give the good spiritual answer to how everything is going. Perhaps one spouse does all the talking. There needs to be a sense in which when together, there is intentional listening and sharing happening. Once the listening and sharing has happened, then step one happens again with follow-up and more time stent “together.”
3. The Subject Matters
For those who have grown up in the church culture, it is easy to speak the language of the Church without actually communicating. The “spiritual” questions are avoided with equally “spiritual” answers. For genuine, deep relationships to take root and blossom there is a need for a change or at least an attempt at different topics. Small groups should focus on spiritual growth and disciplines not assume them. Within the small group community healthy questions about Bible study, prayer, mediation, and memorization should be a regular [read weekly] occurrence. There should be some vulnerability to those questions so that growth and discipleship can take place.
Article By: Caleb Nedimyer