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Four Types of Evil (Part 2)

Four Types of Evil (Part 2)

The Marketplace

Most battles in the past happened because two groups wanted a particular piece of land. The land is given to the people of the army or tribe that wins. In the same way, we are “Insiders” who have been sent into these industries to win them for the Kingdom of the Lord.

The marketplace was where business, education, politics, and religion all came together in the past. When we talk about “marketplace” ministry, we mean the work of becoming Insiders to these four pillars of power and being God’s agents.

Paul said, “We were not fighting against people when he said, “We are not wrestling against flesh and blood.” We’re not fighting against people.” You are in the wrong fight if you are fighting people. Quit. Back away from that fight. You are not supposed to fight with your boss at work. You are not fighting against the court. No one is fighting you. This is where the battle is. The fight is with principalities, which, if you look at the word’s roots, means that the spirits in your area are in charge of the politics. The business world is what the powers refer to. The rulers of darkness are in charge of education, and spiritual wickedness is about religion.

Let’s rewrite the passage as if Paul were talking to us today: “When I went to Ephesus, my message was opposed by political, business, cultural, and spiritual factors. Religion, culture, business, and politics all worked together to put an end to the light of my message.

Synagogues

When we read Acts 19:8, we get a fascinating picture of the beast of Ephesus. It says, “Paul went into the synagogue and spoke boldly about the kingdom of God for three months.

” As far as arguing and persuading go, that’s about as far as you can go regarding religion and “religious people.” If you only use God’s gifts inside a church, your ministry will be limited to arguing and trying to convince people. Paul tried for three months to help the people in the synagogue, which should have been an easy task. But the Bible says that he failed to help them.

Don’t you think that’s a waste? You want to tell someone about some good news. Jesus is still alive, and you know it.  Don’t you want people to know this? Maybe you think to yourself, “Let’s start with the religious people.” But what went wrong? Paul argued and won people over for three months. Well, if that’s what you want to do, go ahead. But what happened when all the arguing and persuading was over?

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Biblical Purpose

Biblical Purpose of Work

Biblical Purpose of Work:

As servants of Christ, we are called to offer God our professional time. To truly understand how to provide your work-time to God, you need to understand the biblical purpose of your work. The intrinsic purposes for work include working to give, working to grow, and working to guide.  

We talked about significance versus success in an earlier chapter. When you see your work as sacred, the goal shifts from finding importance rather than purpose. In finding meaning, you work to give. What can you give of yourself to your workplace? How can you add value to the life of the people around you? 

Joseph was placed in the palace to give advice. His wisdom saves Egypt from the famine. The best jobs allow you to provide the best of you. The best jobs will enable you to express yourself. You experience job satisfaction. 

Wherever you are, you must seek to give value to the industry you are in. When you are giving an expression of your highest, most creative, and intelligent faculties, then you are contributing to your workplace. No matter your position in your office, if you are giving your best, you are offering something valuable—something that God will find pleasure in. Your offering is a heart issue, more than a position issue.  

Growth and Giving

Some jobs are about your growth and not only about giving.  How many of you reading this hate your job right now? It will be difficult to hate your job once you have made your shift from sacred to secular, wouldn’t it? However, how many of you hated your job before you made that shift? 

Before God sent Moses to rescue Israel from slavery, Egyptians enslaved them. For four hundred years, they were very bitter. What was the picture? The children of Israel were crying from the bitterness of their work. When Moses came to deliver God’s message, the Pharaoh made it worse. He must have said, “Now you’re going to make bricks without straw, just because someone is around you talking about freedom.  Now I’m going to show you who’s in charge. You’re going to make bricks without straw.”  

Although not literally, the picture of the Israelite suffering can be related to how we suffered in our jobs. It was mental and physical exhaustion. Most people feel like they are trapped in this secular job. It felt as if we were limited and insignificant. 

But here’s what God said to them.  “When you come out, you will come out with great riches.  I will bring you out with great riches.”  And I know what most of us think that means.  We think it means it’s because they borrowed jewels from their Egyptian neighbors, and they took the jewels into the wilderness. If that’s how we are interpreting this Scripture, then we have missed the point.  The riches they came out with were the knowledge and the skillset for building an empire of their own.    

Building Skills

You see, what the Pharaoh did not realize is that he had inadvertently taught the art of mason building because they built his treasure cities. So while the Israelites were working at a job, they hated, they were learning a skill set that they could take into a job they would love.  So when you are in a toxic working environment that you’re hating, it’s not about, “God, get me out of here!” Instead, it is about “God, what can I learn here because I’m growing in this environment.” 

When you look at this job, you cannot help but hate and think about God’s purpose. What is the Boss’ purpose? Why am I here? Think about this: “I’m not going to be here the rest of my life. I am here for the learning, not the earning, but the transferrable skills.” 

What came out of Egypt was not a set of enslaved people but a skilled workforce, a task force who had been trained indirectly in the art of mason building.  The issue is that you can take the skills sets from this job into another career venture.  Sometimes, the purpose of the work is just for growth.   

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Biblical Purpose of Work

Work is the Premise of the Sabbath

Sabbath is Sacred but Temporary

Let us balance this out. Sabbath is important. Sabbath is sacred to the Lord. However, Sabbath was not intended to be a permanent state. Some of us have been taking Sabbaths without going to work. This is not natural behavior. We were not designed this way.  

We have been so focused on the Sabbath as a religious event that we have failed to connect it with the rest of the six days. The Sabbath is a part of the week of the Lord. The week of the Lord is about the work He wants for us to do. You can have something that you are working on, in, or through for six days of your life.  

According to the ministry He has placed you in, you are supposed to be working for the Lord for six days. The ministry He has placed you in occurs in your workplace. The work you do six days a week justifies the Sabbaths in your life. 

What if God didn’t do any work on the first day through the sixth day and then said, “The seventh is a Sabbath.” However, other people try to work through the seventh. Entrepreneurs tend to work on things. Employees tend to work on things. Homemakers and people working in the domestic tend to be working through things. You get tired of just working monotonously at the same thing because you have failed to complete the Career Mandate by stopping to rest and review the work that you have done. 

Work is not what is causing you to experience fatigue. What you’re working on, what you’re working with, what you’re working through, and what you’re working in that’s frustrating you. If the environment changes, you would love creating because it is part of your innate nature.  

We need to feel productive.

Imagine this scenario. You take time off to go to the beach for a vacation. When you get there, you lay down on the first day to relax. After a while, you get a tan from the sun.

On the second day, you do the same thing again and get tanner. On the third day, you bring a book or your iPod with you thinking, “I’ve got to listen to something because I’m just lying here, and I’m browning off now.” 

Has anyone ever been in this situation before? “I’m browning off. Now, I can do something. So, I’m going to lie here, and then I’m going to get up, and I’m going to go for a dip, and then I’m going to come back. Let’s go down the road. Let’s go and see whatever else is there to do.” In this vacation, you feel the urge to do something. You cannot just lie around on the sand doing nothing.  

Work is the premise of the Sabbath, isn’t it?  Isn’t the Sabbath more meaningful because you did your work?  The Sabbath becomes a great time because you have made yourself productive all-week round. 

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Sabbath

Taking Your Sabbath is a Stand

Taking Your Sabbath is a Stand

The Purpose of Rest

Why does a God with omnipotence even need to rest? Was He tired? No. He was showing us something foundational. God revealed how our career mandate must unfold through the Creation account. This blog will talk about the purpose and value of rest in fulfilling our Career Mandate.  

What is He doing? God introduces Himself to us as a creative God who manifests His intentions in stages and phases. He reviews the stages, and then He rests. He has revealed to us how He steps back from the project.  

God is teaching us how resting is an essential part of creating. Stepping back for a season is vital. God has already shown us how we must “do” work from the very beginning. Taking a Sabbath from a week of work is a stand. It is a stand of your faith.  

Even when we dread work, most of us live in the office. How many of you have punched in countless overtimes? How many of you consider yourselves workaholics? Keeping the Sabbath shows for whom we are working. It shows where we put our faith.  

Trust God, Not Your Strength

When you fail to keep the Sabbath holy, when you use the Sabbath to work, it reveals that you are trusting in your abilities. Why would you work on a Sabbath? It is mostly because you are afraid to lose your job. You are worried that you will be unable to finish the tasks you can do. You are relying on yourself.  

When you rest on your Sabbath, it shows that you want to obey God at the end of the day. It proves that you are relying on God’s strength, not yours. Keeping your Sabbath day holy shows that you understand that your career will be blessed if you obey God. This is one of the reasons why we “do” work differently than the rest of the work. We take rest seriously. 

We all required the rest. God declared this commandment to Moses. This commandment pertains to our work behavior.  

 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (Exodus 20:8-11) 

 

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Sabbath

Your Commitment To Your Mandate

Your Commitment To Your Mandate

“Every person needs to take one day away.  A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future.  Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence.  Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for.  Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.” 

Maya Angelou 

Power Truth 

“Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to the Lord in all your dwelling places. 

Leviticus 23:3 

Have you ever heard of people saying, “You know what, I’m waiting, Bishop. When I find out what my ministry is, that’s when I’m going to give it 100%”. You will find your ultimate ministry in life as you serve, not as you wait. As you serve the church, as you serve your workplace, as you serve your family, you will see what you are good at. You will recognize your gifts and your passion. You won’t see it, sitting on the couch all day, waiting for the Lord to reveal it to you. 

Personal Application 

  1. What is keeping you from worshipping God with your work? 
  2. How can you make your work your worship? 
  3. Have you discovered your faithful ministry in life? If so, what is it? 

Mandate: 

Points to Ponder on 

  • Each one of us has a career mandate.  
  • God assigned Adam his “Career Mandate,” Adam worshiped God through his obedience. 
  • It is unnatural to have no work.  
  • The job of pastors is only to equip every believer to conquer the field or industry they are assigned to be Insiders in.  
  • Ministry is service. Your work is your service.  

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You Were Designed for Your Career Mandate

You Were Designed for Your Career Mandate

Where are you taking God’s Kingdom?

We are so interested in where God is, while He is interested in where we are. We should understand that God’s presence is not limited to the church facility. He is where you are.  

Our pastors are not the only full-time ministers. However, the job of pastors is only to equip every believer to conquer the field or industry they are assigned to be Insiders. That is what we are trying to do here. Moreover, we are trying to equip you to be God’s Insider in the industry you are working in. All of us are called to be full-time ministers in our workplaces. 

Mandate: 

There is a mandate. You are required to work because God designed you for it. Each person who goes according to their design to glorify and worship the Lord ministers to God. Thus, if you are working and doing it primarily to honor God and secondarily earn a living, you are a full-time minister. 

Being the Salt

Do you know what happens to anything that doesn’t fulfill its purpose? Like the salt that loses its saltiness, everything that does not fulfill its purpose will be thrown out. Jesus said this, didn’t he? Why keep the salt if it has no saltiness to show for it? 

Think about it. What would you do if you ate dinner and saw salt and pepper on your table? The salt looks like salt, but it’s not salty. What would you do? You would see it to have no purpose for it to be on the table.  

How many times have you asked God, “I’d like to know what my purpose is in life? What is my purpose?” If you have asked this before, I want you to say to yourself: “Ministry is my purpose.” It’s so simple. Ministry is service. Having said that, your work is your service. In fact, your purpose on earth is to serve, contribute, and make a difference. In the same light, you are called to service. That’s it. This is your purpose. 

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The System of the World

The System of the World

It’s all about systems

The city has a system. It is a mechanism that is made up of parts and components. It has culture and subcultures. Reaching a city means that you have a presence in every aspect of the city.  It does not necessarily mean that you have to be the most significant influence, but you need to have an impact in every area of the world. 

The Great Commission is about evangelism in the world. In the same way, the Great Commission is meant to be an “inside job” that starts with courageous believers going into the world. In this respect, we have to be in it to win it. We have to be in every area of society, every industry, and every aspect if we want to fulfill the call of the Great Commission truly. 

 At the end of the day, fulfilling this call is what we are here for. If we were not here for that purpose, we should have gone to heaven the moment we accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. We have a purposeful God. We are here on earth because we still have a purpose of serving.  

You cannot win a world for Christ if you are not a part of it. An outsider cannot beat the system. An outsider does not have enough influence to be able to win the system. You have to be in the system in order to establish a stronghold over it.  

Reflection

  1. Describe the rulers, authorities, and powers that exist in the darkness of your workplace. 
  1. How are you being the salt in that office or business? 
  1. How are you being the light in the industry?  

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Excellence-Creates-Your-Influence

Excellence Creates Your Influence

Excellence Creates Your Influence

If you bring value to that field through excellent service in love, you have a right to talk about anything you want to talk about, and they are all going to listen and say, “Yes, please tell me more.” If you storm into your office and say, “Hello, everyone. I’m a Born Again Christian, and it’s about time that somebody heard the word of the Lord up in here,” then you have just made yourself a strong argument against Christianity.   

Are you walking the talk?

Have you ever seen these horrible drivers with a Jesus bumper sticker on their vehicles? There was one time wherein I wanted to stop one guy one time and tell him, “Listen, you can put Satan on the back of your car. Be an adverb for him because you’re not telling me anything about Jesus at all.”  

It’s about understanding a presence you are meant to bring into an industry. That’s the first key to ministry in the marketplace. It’s not a message that you get. Although, we have an important message to plant. You can bring the presence of Christ before you bring the message of Christ. 

Someone said, “I’m going to bring the message.” You say that because you don’t understand covert kingdom operations. You don’t understand that God does not have to be named to be present. He doesn’t have to be announced to arrive. That’s the real message of Esther. Did you know that?  

Esther is the one book in the Bible in the name God doesn’t appear. But God is all over the book because Esther is a covert agent who gives God access to the king’s bedroom. It’s covert and about bringing a presence into a field that establishes your credibility to speak.  

Then, there is Joseph the Dreamer. He brought so much value to the kingdom of Egypt. An archeologist said that they had identified a time, and that seems to match up with the Joseph saga chronologically when Egypt was monotheistic. These are just a few examples that we will go into deeper as we discuss insiders’ accounts in the Bible. 

How can you contribute?

You can add massive value to the people’s lives in your workplace. Once you do this, you can influence a person’s faith. They will be thinking, “You do not add any value to my life. Why do I have to care about you or your faith?” No one cares about why you value your faith until they know how much you care.  

When you approach them without adding value to their lives or showing them that you genuinely care for them, you are just creating a debate about religion. Get out of the business of debating religion.  

If I can feed you and clothe you, I can talk to you. That’s what Jesus did. You see Jesus bringing massive value into people’s lives, and that’s what made His words credible. Without the miracles, who would have listened to Jesus? Think about it. The purpose of the gifts is to give credence to your message. Think about how you are being an Insider to your workplace.  

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Excellence Creates Your Influence

A Survey on How Church Members Discipleship

As Christians bring the message of the Gospel to the world, eective approaches to discipleship become more critical. A research study by Barna Group revealed that church leaders exemplar discipleship ministries among US Christian adults. Moreover, the researchers also surveyed Christian educators to determine the current state of discipleship in the US.  

Survey on Discipleship Amongst Church Members

In a random sample of Christians, practicing and non-practicing, the best way to describe their process of growing spiritually is by “becoming more Christ-like” (43%), followed by “spiritual growth” (31%), and “spiritual journey” (28%). The term “discipleship” only ranked fourth on the list and was only selected by fewer than one in five Christians (18%). Moreover, among those who did not choose the term “discipleship,” only one-quarter consider discipleship still relevant to their Christian experience. This implies that while spiritual growth is significant, the language and terminology surrounding discipleship change.  

In terms of the effectiveness of discipleship, Christian adults still believe their churches are doing well. About 52 percent of those who attended church in the past six months believe their church is doing a good job helping people grow spiritually.” On the other hand,  40 percent said, “it probably does so.”

About two-thirds of Christians (67%) attending church, who have considered spiritual growth as necessary, claim that their church places “a lot” of emphasis on spiritual growth. Conversely, 27 percent say their church only gives “some” focus.  

Only one (1) percent believes that today’s churches are doing very well in reaching out to new and young believers. A majority of 6 out of 10 (60%) feel that the churches are not discipling too well. Pastors give their church higher marks than churches overall, but only a few believe that churches excel in discipleship.  

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Free Prophecy for Everyone

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! 

1 Samuel 7.1-17

What does the Bible say?

Although God did not institute the gathering at Mizpah, it arose from the Israelites’ desire and recognition that God would deliver them from the Philistines even without a physical king to lead them into battles. Samuel himself resided at Rama, with frequent visits to the various stations that required him to attend to offer judgments.

The manifestations at Mizpah turned what seemed to be a doomed ceremony into a triumphant revelation of God’s will to protect the Israelites. God was watching the progress of the tradition right from heaven, the prayer, the confessions, fasting, and the offering made at the altar at Mizpah.

 There are many celebrations around the world. The United Nations has a roster that schedules every other important day annually, even though various national jurisdictions have ceremonial days declared accordingly.

There are also other globally recognized days that though emanating from Christianity, have unfurled into generic ceremonies. One of them is Christmas day. In the hearts of Christians, it’s a commemoration of the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. To pagans, it’s a day to make merry as they await the eve of the New Year. It’s a ceremonial moment to recollect and welcome salvation into our hearts in memory of the nativity of Jesus. Most accomplished Christians take time at church and spike that with an act of charity and Merry Christmas.

Celebrating Christ

In the hearts of Christians, it’s a commemoration of the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

When Christ was alive with us, he, too, underscored the place of ceremonies. Mary seemed to have the understanding that Jesus could work miracles. However, Christ appeared to disagree with Mary’s timing. By then, Christ had kept a low profile by just being known as the son of a carpenter, Joseph.

Nevertheless, when he changed the water into wine, the mystery remained with Mary herself since even the master of the ceremony could not discern why the best wine was being served while it was too late into the ceremony. 

According to the guidance that God gave Moses, the Israelites were to live in love with one another, observing the annual ceremonies.

He’d installed among them. In the spirit of being one another’s keeper, the Israelites were to spare some little harvests and leave them deliberately in the fields for strangers and those with no means to fend for themselves.

In the spirit of being one another’s keeper, the Israelites were to spare some little harvests and leave them deliberately in the fields for strangers and those with no means to fend for themselves.

What do we see in the world?

Besides the ordinary festivities, God requested a dedication of all firstborns. That’s why Christ was brought over into the synagogue with a presentation of turtle doves. So above everything, Christ’s spirit to embrace and entrench the Law of Moses is evident right into the festivities in the life of Christ. 

One among the days set aside for God is the Sabbath, to which the Pharisees and the Scribes picked offense with Christ for healing a lame person. A deeper understanding of the nature of the conflict arose from the selfishness of the Pharisees and the Scribes.

We should invoke the presence of God in the many ceremonies that find a way into our lives. In its entirety, finding space for God and giving Him the necessary precedence is not the most challenging thing. We are calling God before and after a journey is as simple as saying a prayer, whether audible or in the silence of the heart.

Even though things may happen in very noisy surroundings, that’s not deterrence enough. God can hear the voice of the heart in terms of requests, praises, and reverence to Him. 

In the busyness of this season, LET’S FIND SPACE TO CELEBRATE JESUS.

Demystifying ceremonies and being able to re-create them into simple tasks is the very essence of Christian living. The very simple prayers are what make a fundamental difference. Let’s make things simple. One doesn’t have to pray for hours continuously.

No. Say a five minutes prayer before heading out for the day. Thank God for the cup of tea and toast before taking it for lunch and dinner. When done repeatedly, we can shed off the ceremonial bits and become part of daily habits that build in you the passion for praying as believers. Merry Christmas to all! 

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Free Prophecy

Merry Christmas

The DNA of the Small Groups

The DNA of the Small Groups:

Instead of asking for new small group strategies that are working well, a discipleship pastor or leader should first determine the DNA of the small groups in their church.

Rather than going for effective discipleship curriculums, a pastor or any leader must be first grounded. Pastors must align themselves to God’s calling for their church’s small groups.  

Small group leaders take shortcuts to successful small groups, and they copy and apply another church’s model for discipleship. The problem with this is that they do not take into account their own church’s unique fundamentals.

Every church is different, and this is okay. We should celebrate this difference since other churches can do different things to reach different people.

The discipleship system of simplicity is firmly grounded with the basics and the fundamentals of discipleship.

Sometimes, even the most basic question, “What is a Disciple?” becomes a complicated question to answer. It’s about creating a simple, duplicable discipleship pathway for the church community. 

In whatever language we have, discipleship remains the core designated task for the church, as we call it the Great Commission.  

And Jesus came and said to them,

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

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The DNA of the Small Groups

Why Your Church Needs a Small Group Ministry?

Reasons for Establishing a Small Group Ministry

In his article, “10 Reasons Why Your Church Should Have Small Groups”, Daniel Threlfall identifies the importance of small groups. First on his list is that small groups foster close relationships and basic community. A small group atmosphere is good for establishing friendships since individuals tend to talk more in small groups.  

The second is that small groups provide a comfortable environment to welcome nonbelievers to the Christian faith.

A natural and understandable fear common among us is fear in forming relationships, especially if it involves sharing our faith and beliefs with other people.

However, inviting someone to a small group meeting provides a way to involve a nonbeliever in the church. A nonbeliever is more likely to ask questions, get answers, and form relationships with a small group of believers. Thus, small groups can be a powerful missional tool, allowing for the greater spread of the gospel among nonbelievers in the community.  

Third, small groups provide a good way to care for the needs of people within the church.

When a small group member is struggling, it is much easier for the other group members to notice. They can already provide assistance. The structure of a small group is essentially a community of friends of the same faith. As a result, friends are meant to help one another, especially if they are friends in Christ.  

Fourth, small groups allow Christians to live out their faith instead of becoming churchgoers and mere Gospel listeners.

Since members discuss the Sunday preaching, talk about their personal and spiritual battles, and/or pray for one another during meetings, small groups provide a setting for Christians to live out their faith.  

Fifth on Threlfall’s list is that small groups provide focused prayer for one another.

Threlfall noted that in a small group meeting, each of the present people took a few minutes to tell others about their particular challenges or concerns. Then, as soon as one is finished, the person next to him will take some time to pray for him. Small groups are a great place for prayer meetings.  

Sixth, small groups offer a comfortable atmosphere for openness.

One admirable thing about small groups is that members often meet in the comfort of their homes, where people can open up, listen, learn, and grow. Threlfall pointed out that this is the same with the first disciples of Jesus who are meeting in houses or being part of a household.  

Seventh, small groups allow for mutual edification among believers.

Believers tend to depend upon the leaders for spiritual food and nourishment easily. However, the Scripture states otherwise, for God also gives spiritual gifts to all believers, not just to the preachers and leaders. The whole church benefits from it.

Every Christian should minister to other Christians with their gifts, and this happens most naturally, effectively, and purposefully within small groups.   

Eight, small groups encourage better learning.

Listening to a Sunday preaching is a great way to learn the Word, but it is easy to become detached from the message, making us passive listeners. This is not the case within a small group. As a few people gather together, every individual is expected to be involved and to participate. Active involvement is an effective way to learn better.  

Ninth, small groups are a source of encouragement and accountability.

It is easy to go in and out of the church and not be noticed. This is common with megachurches, but it also happens in an average-sized church of 100 or 150 attendees.

People come for each Sunday service but do not get themselves involved. These individuals need accountability in their lives, encouragement in their walk with God, and/or help in some way in which small groups can provide.  

Lastly, small groups cultivate leadership within the church.

Someone is necessary to lead a small group meeting or at least facilitate the discussion. Thus, there is a need for leaders other than the pastor. Small groups provide opportunities for leadership development among members within the church.

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Why Your Church Needs a Small Group Ministry?