This marks one year that I have been on staff at FBC in my primary role as advocate and planner for
groups. During the year, I shared, many times, and in many ways, with different audiences and with the
church as-a-whole, about the importance of groups. Following is a brief reprise of some key group ideas
- 70% of Americans (acc. to Gallup) say that churches are not meeting their needs. What’s
missing, they said includes:
1) Meaning and purpose in life
2) Community and deeper relationships
3) Being appreciated and respected
4) Listened to and heard
5) Practical help
6) Spiritual and personal growth
These needs are best met in a nurturing small group!
- Many churches, today, have some small groups, but few churches are made up of small groups.
That is, few churches have a majority of their membership in small groups. At FBC, less
than 20% of our regular worship attenders are in small groups on Sunday or during the week.
- There several great word pictures of the New Testament church – metaphors about why God
wants us to connect with one another. The Bible says that that being spiritually connected
means: we’re joined in a body (the local church); we’re born into a family ( the church,
universal) and we’re attached to a vine (i.e. Jesus).
- Small groups provide the optimal environment for life change. Significant relationships occur
best in the context of a small group of believers who love one another with God’s love, where
we can experience the Christ life at its deepest level, in small groups.
- Our number one mission as Christians is to share our faith with those who do not know Jesus.
An ultimate goal for being in a small group is to encourage and help equip us to tell the Good
News that brought us to Christ. Unfortunately, the number one reason Christians don’t share
Christ with others is that they are too preoccupied with themselves and their interests.
- A good bit of what goes on in small groups is (or should be) about spiritual growth.
There are several myths related to Spiritual growth:
MYTH: Growth can be instant – FACT: It is a gradual process
MYTH: Growth comes by attending church – FACT: It comes by developing habits
MYTH: You can attain growth by yourself – FACT: You can’t grow without others
MYTH: You can measure growth by beliefs – FACT: It has to include behavior
- Groups are about community, care and discipleship, but, a healthy group is also about ministry.
Ministry is to people in the church, is to people outside the church.
- Every member of a group needs to discover, develop and deploy their God given
Desire Experiences Spiritual Gifts. Individual Style Growth Natural Abilities for ministry for the
good of the body (1 Cor. 12:7; Eph.2:10)). service/ ministry (John 13:4-5).
- Being part of a small group in a church is about belonging, just as to be a Christian is not about
doing, it is about being. To understand belonging we have to first understand fellowship.
Mathew 9:36 says, “When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they
were …sheep without a shepherd.” We need to see people through Jesus’ eyes. Fellowship is
not just about a meeting.
- When the apostle Paul said farewell to the Ephesian elders, he said. “I don’t care about my life.
The most important thing is that I complete my mission, the work the Lord Jesus gave me – to
tell people the Good News about God’s grace.” Acts 20:24 (NCV) Evangelism is sharing the good
news of the gospel of Jesus Christ with those who do not know Him. Relational evangelism
involves the privilege and responsibility of working with God and representing Him to others,
and it is a responsibility that all Christians share.
- Over the years, I have been a member of several churches that have small groups. They are
called, variously, growth groups, connection groups, community, and several other names. Our
goal is to start many more small groups, to the point where we have 40-50% of our Sunday
morning worship attendance in (doing life together) small groups.
- Purpose Driven Small Group functions around the purposes (DNA) of the church. We Worship
mostly on Sunday mornings, but groups worship too, (e.g. when they pray). The New Testament
church not only worshipped, t(hey met regularly in the Temple courts and in their homes; they
praised God together), but they devoted themselves to God’s word and to fellowship. They ate
and prayed together. They took care of one another. As a result, their community was changed,
as people were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47). They did LIFE together.
- In August and September, potential and current group leaders were invited to four sessions of
training about LIFE Groups. On Sunday, October 1 we had a Join-a Group Expo, after worship, in
the Narthex, where most of 28 people found their way into a LIFE Group.
- We now have study guides, with discussion questions so that individuals or groups can watch Pastor
Glen’s sermons of “What kind of church are we?” on our U-tube page and then “unpack” and apply
them. You can download the guides from our Life Group page, soon. We’ll be doing the same for
current and future sermon series.
On December 31, Pastor Phil preached about getting a new perspective and a paradigm shift – things I
want to see for FBC. This may well, as Phil said in his sermon, require “unfreezing” moves related to
habits and perspectives. I hope that more and more, we can “open up” to new ways God will want to
use us, especially with our group life.