Recently our Fanning the Flame team gathered to listen to a lecture on CD about Small Group Discipleship. Here are some of my take-aways.
Many Christians have never experienced true Biblical fellowship; they are not being discipled or discipling others; they frankly are not interested in making disciples. The commission within the Great Commission is “Make Disciples!” so as saints of God, we need to take steps to make sure that is what we are about.
These are the elements of a Biblical Small Group Fellowship:
As you can see they form the acronym WELL. A healthy small group will include these activities.
There is a strong biblical basis for small groups in both the Old and New Testaments. The father-in-law of Moses advised him to form small groups in order to spread out the responsibilities of leadership (Exodus 18). Jesus chose twelve men to disciple (Luke 6:12-13) and the early church met in small groups in the homes of Lydia, Priscilla and Aquila and others.
To be maximally successful, small groups must:
- Be a church-wide ministry
- Have strong pastoral and leadership support: leaders must be in small groups
- Have clearly defined faith goals — each group should have a kingdom project, something outside of the congregation they will do together
- Establish relationships with non-believers
- Have periodic entrance and exit times
Some of the blessings of small groups include:
- Facilitation of discipleship — they are relational, not just informational
- Exponential expansion
- Provides a core of trained leaders
- Helps the Elders to fulfill their responsibilities to love and know the flock
Of course, there was more. Our Small Group Task Force is already hard at work, and we are hoping this will become a focal point for our revitalization. Facilitators are being selected and trained, and a “practice” small group, comprised of those people will start soon.
Keep praying for us as we continue on this journey to fan our embers into flames!