Introduction to the kind of small groups Jesus envisaged in his Church
The early church met in the synagogues, and from house to house. Christianity was a ‘house church’ movement until it became the state-sanctioned religion at the time of Constantine. From then onwards the larger gathering became the focus — like it still is in the West today.
However, it remains that the mission of the Church (making disciples of non-disciples) is the mission of the church small group. In addition, God always intended that Christian fellowship in small groups — because the 50 or more ‘one anothers’ of the New Testament could not be applied in any other context! God’s vision for our churches had our church small groups near the centre — not as an extra.
The necessary inclusion of our mission in our groups is a perspective that has often been overlooked — but let it be so no more!
The below video has some really important perspectives in it.
It might take you a couple of years to get your head around – but, if you do, this could revolutionise the way you approach ‘outreach mobilisation.’
Because any effort you make to mobilise members as witnesses will be unsustainable unless you learn how to harness the missional-focus of your small groups!
This 16-minute video for small group leaders in local churches (also at /ATConsulting) explains the habits through which small group leaders could also work to equip and mobilise church members as everyday conversational witnesses. Through these habits they have the power to AMPLIFY the pastors efforts through the ‘outreaching culture’ strategy explained above. The stated goal is to ‘reinsert’ the mission of the church small group into these groups – in recognition that many groups are already serving other good purposes.
A notes sheet, with discussion questions can be downloaded underneath it. This explains a ‘paradigm’ of leadership that can see members sustainably mobilised.
Some other resources regarding small group ministry
(B) ONLINE RESOURCES FOR YOUR USE WITH YOUR LEADERS:
You will find a chapter by Dave Mann on how to lead a ‘cell’ ministry (Chapter 5 of ‘The What and How of Youth and Young Adult Ministry — Singapore version’) here. (Maybe in the future we will create a refined version of what this training contains). This chapter, even though this is written in a Singaporean context, is about principles of leadership in small group ministry, written with lessons learnt from leading a youth/young adult ministry through transition, growing from 4 to 23 cell groups, while also briefly overseeing an additional network of 35 adult cells. The principles apply, and some of the resources in the attached ‘kick start’ resource (via links in each chapter – including things like ‘small group leader training’) could be useful.
Please freely discuss your small group vision and strategies with Dave Mann and Tony Collis. Both have had significant experience in bringing leadership to small group ministries / small group movements.