I love small groups

Posted: August 19, 2011 in Uncategorized

Most of you know that I am the Connections Pastor at the First Family and that I have a passion for small groups.  Here at the First Family we have somewhat of a hybrid between traditional “Sunday School” and the modern “Cell Group”.  We call them small groups!  Success here at the First Family is defined by how effectively our ministries move people from large environments into small groups.  It is my desire that everyone who calls the First Family home will be connected to a small group.

It is also important to know the DNA which makes up what we call small groups at our church.  Three words describe what we want small groups to be!  These three words strive to directly address the strategic vision and direction of the church.  Our small groups are a conduit through which these three terms flow:  Community, Missions,  Spiritual Growth.  We actually call these three words “The Triple Crown of Small Group Ministry”  Let me say a few words about each of these three words….

Community:  We truly believe that you can’t do church alone.  Although the Christian experience is centered on an individual’s personal relationship with Jesus Christ, it is almost always worked out in community.  While being a Christian is an intimately personal experience, it is not an exclusively private experience.  God meant for us to share our lives with each other as we daily work out our salvation.  So we want our small groups to be a place where people can feel a sense of belonging and safety – a sense of family and yes, even fun.   In a small group people should care for one another and should feel missed if they don’t show up.

Missions: One of the key components of our vision is service and it is through small groups that people should be encouraged to serve and sacrifice for the Kingdom.  Our small groups should be incubators in which servant leaders are multiplied to serve in ministries through a small group, in the church and to the un-churched in our community and around the world.

Spiritual Growth:  The small group is the best place for sustained life change to occur.  It is within a small group that people can study God’s word together and discuss the issues and challenges of life.  Small groups should be a safe place to practice your faith and talk about how the Bible applies to your life.  In order for people to grow spiritually, they must be challenged and held accountable.  Small group leaders should always encourage one-on-one accountability within the group and foster an atmosphere of transparency in order to produce spiritual growth.

The Mix:  Even though I know most of you may think that spiritual growth is the most important of these three (and probably deep down in places I don’t talk about at parties, I think so too) I want to remind you that without a healthy mix of all of these, you do not have a small group.  For example, if all your small group does is lecture the Bible every Sunday and you have deep insightful Bible study, but a marriage within your small group is falling apart and no one even knows…you have missed the boat.  On the other hand, if your group loves each other and is always partying together and eating together, but never challenging folks with the depth of God’s word, no one is going to grow!

Let me summarize with a verse that we use as our theme verse for our small groups:

 1 Thessalonians 2:8 We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you, not only the gospel of God, but our lives as well because you had become so dear to us. 

Let’s do life together…join a small group!!!!

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