Impact of Small Groups to the Church
The Current Use of Small Group:
In a research survey conducted by Ed Stetzer and Eric Geiger among churchgoers in the United States and Canada. Results revealed that almost 8 out of 10 or 79 percent of those surveyed agreed that small groups are significant in their church. Two-thirds said that their church regularly starts new small groups. It also revealed a widespread agreement but not overall engagement.
Stetzer notes that small group members comprise only 50 percent of the Sunday morning attendance. Statistically, this is low. The people who are genuinely involved in the church genuinely involved must also be plugged into the small community. Further, he mentioned that in reality, 70 percent is not an unreachable goal for churches that correctly give importance to small groups. There are even traditional churches with 94 percent involvement in small groups. We can consider this number high but doable.
Community involvement is vital because relationships within the church body are essential. As we preach the gospel to one another in a tight-knit community. Spiritual growth changes us from the individual level to the church as a whole. This change allows the church to direct an outward focus and encourage gospel transformation to the communities outside the church’s walls.
There is something uniquely powerful with intimate gatherings, whether in a living room, a classroom, or a dining table, that allows people to think and act differently than with the whole of the church gathering for corporate worship. Within small groups, much of the theology taught in pulpits begins to be fleshed out in conversations and actions.
Church on a mission
Stetzer emphasized that for a church to be on a mission, it should be taught from the pulpit, and leaders must equip the members to wrestle with it in their small groups. It may not be easy, but it is fruitful. Community matters are enough to be prioritized and need to be part of the church’s focus.
There is nothing more important ministry in the life of our church than our small groups. Therefore, Stetzer concludes that whatever the plans or programs the church has for small groups, it should always keep in mind why small groups are good and take advantage of the good they can bring into the church.
Author, Jeremy Linneman, pointed out that there must be a definite goal of small-group ministry. It can be fellowship, friendship, Bible literacy, missional engagement, and neighborhood services. With his more than a decade of leading and overseeing small groups in different contexts, Linneman relates that he is convinced that the single, unifying goal of community ministries should be no other than discipleship.
Focus on Christ’s Commission
Since Jesus commissioned us to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19), our highest goal for the small groups is not just fellowship or increase. It must be increasing our knowledge of Jesus. It must also be staying in church. Our goal must be to become mature disciples, who are men and women full of the life of Christ. To develop a paradigm for discipleship, start from where true discipleship begins — the earthly life and ministry of Jesus.
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