Missional Small Groups
Small groups in churches have been the catalysts for some truly wonderful things happening in the lives of the individuals and the church. We can thank God that He has used the fellowship and learning to bring healing and to transform lives.
But Jesus might not even recognise our small groups as like anything He did.
Small groups can be fantastic but there are also dangers:
being inward looking. Concerned about the members of the group but not about those outside the group.
being all about information rather than transformation.
being places where Christians receive more and more biblical knowledge without living it. In small groups, people can become very fat - receving more and more input but never exercising their faith.
Jesus modelled on-the-job training. He trained peope for mission and ministry in the context of mission and ministry. But small groups tend to simply discuss the theory.
even the sense of community can be shallow. Unity is maintained by avoiding difficult issues.
there can be little intentionality about making disciples. Groups choose study topics that sound interesting rather than assessing where people are at in their faith and what should be their next step.
whereas Jesus modelled a very relational form of disciple-making where disciples grow by listening to and imitating their mentor/rabbi, small groups can rely more on study materials than relationships.
there can be little acountability. Even if last week's study raised practical issues, people are not asked this week how they got on with the actions they intended to take.
If your group is to not be like this, how would it need to operate differently?
Being intentionally missional goes a long way to making your small group much more powerful, and a much more satisfying experience for the members.