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Think BIG

Think Small Groups


Building Christian Communi t y
David Cox
CONTENTS

Page
INTRODUCTION 2
Chapter One: Small Groups - Part of Gods Plan
Chapter T!o: "h# Small Groups$ %&
Chapter Three: "hat Small Groups 're %(
Chapter )our: "hat Small Groups Do 2*
Chapter)+,e: Small Group D#nam+-s .(
Chapter S+/: Small Groups +n 0,angel+sm *%
Chapter Se,en: Organ+s+ng Small Groups (&
Chapter 0+ght: Small Group 1eaders %
Chapter N+ne: Small Group 2eet+ngs 3
Chapter Ten: Small Group )a-ts and Pho4+as 33
'ppend+/ ': Suggested I-e-5rea6er 7uest+ons 8%

'ppend+/ 5: Sample Chur-h-1+fe 7uest+onna+re 82
'ppend+/ C: 0llen "h+te Statements on Small Groups 8(
'ppend+/ D: 0/ample of a Relat+onal Group Co,enant 88
5+4l+ograph# 89
INTRODUCTION

%
ou,e had a long: hard da#: #ou are t+red and hungr#: 4ut #ou are nearl#
home; <ou are loo6+ng for!ard to a good meal and the -han-e to rela/: !hen
suddenl# the tra+n #ou are tra,ell+ng on shudders to a standst+ll: or the
motor!a# traff+- +n front of #ou gr+nds to a halt; 'fter half an hour: #ou ha,e hardl#
mo,ed at all: and home 4eg+ns to seem a ,er# long !a# a!a#;
<
2ost l+6el# #ou dont ha,e to +mag+ne !hat I ha,e =ust des-r+4ed: 4e-ause +ts
happened to #ou personall# - ma#4e man# t+mes; Its d+ff+-ult to 4e pat+ent +n su-h
s+tuat+ons: +snt +t$ 'fter all: ra+l!a#s and motor!a#s !ere des+gned to redu-e the t+me
!e ta6e to get home: not +n-rease +t; So e,en no! a lot of t+me and mone# +s 4e+ng
spent on resear-h to d+s-o,er !hat -an 4e done to +mpro,e the transport s#stem:
4e-ause e,er#one agrees - !e -ant -arr# on l+6e th+s; 0spe-+all# as !e prepare for the
t!ent#-f+rst -entur#;
Sounds like the church?
I !onder - ha,e #ou found #ourself th+n6+ng s+m+lar thoughts a4out the -hur-h
re-entl#$ If I am not m+sta6en: man# 'd,ent+sts are frustrated !+th !hat feels ,er#
mu-h l+6e a tra,el dela# +n the -hur-h; Th+s mo,ement started out !ell; Organ+sat+on
and stru-tures !ere set +n pla-e and programmes !ere de,eloped to >u+-6l# spread the
three angels message around the !orld; 'nd theres no dou4t a4out +t - !hat God has
a--ompl+shed through th+s -hur-h +n #ears gone 4# +s >u+te remar6a4le; ?o! the
mo,ement has gro!n and spread !orld-!+de +s !onderful;
?o!e,er: a--ord+ng to e/pe-tat+ons: Gods !or6 on earth should 4e f+n+shed 4# no!:
and @esus should ha,e -ome; 5ut !ere st+ll here: and +n some -ountr+es +t seems that
!ere hardl# mo,+ng for!ard at all; In fa-t: +f an#th+ng: the -hallenge !e fa-e +s 4+gger
no! than +t e,er !as: e,en +n terms of the sheer num4ers of people !ho e+ther ha,e
not heard the Gospel or do not understand +t;
<et: at the same t+me: the opportun+t+es for shar+ng the Good Ne!s are also greater
no! than the# ha,e e,er 4een; "h+le around the !orld man# -ountr+es !h+-h !ere
-losed to Chr+st+an+t# are no! open: there +s also a ne! +nterest +n sp+r+tual th+ngs +n
-ountr+es l+6e 5r+ta+n !h+-h for so man# #ears ha,e 4een res+stant to the Gospel; There
are more Chr+st+ans Aand 'd,ent+stsB than e,er 4eforeC !e no! ha,e a !orld-!+de
rad+o net!or6 A'"RB: satell+te e,angel+sm: the Internet: and other methods of
-ommun+-at+on a,a+la4le to us !h+-h pre,+ous generat+ons d+d not ha,e; 'nd 4eh+nd all
th+s: !e ha,e the prom+se of the po!er of the ?ol# Sp+r+t: to mo,e us for!ard; So !h#
arent !e go+ng faster$
"hat !+ll +t ta6e to mo,e us from !here !e are no! - almost home - to !here God
!ants us to 4e: +n hea,en !+th ?+m: !+th ?+s !or6 on earth f+n+shed$ Is there an#th+ng
!e -an do that !e are not do+ng$
Time for a gear-change
In re-ent #ears there ha,e 4een man# en-ourag+ng s+gns that God +s prepar+ng ?+s
-hur-h and -lear+ng the !a# for an unpre-edented mo,e for!ard that !+ll ta6e us
through the last part of the =ourne# and home to the prom+sed land; 0lton True4lood:
-hang+ng the traff+- and tra,el metaphor sl+ghtl#: suggests there +s also someth+ng !e
-an do:
2
Now, after more than three centuries, we can, if we will, change gears
again. Our opportunity for a big step lies in opening the ministry to the
ordinary Christian in much the same manner that our ancestors opened Bible
reading to the ordinary Christian. To do this means, in one sense, the
inauguration of a new Reformation, while in another it means the logical
completion of the earlier Reformation in which the implications of the
position taken were neither fully understood nor loyally followed.
!
2a#4e the solut+on to the Dtraff+- =am +n the -hur-hE s#ndrome +s more s+mple than !e
th+n6; 2a#4e +ts t+me to -hange gear; To a-tuall# do !hat !e ha,e tal6ed of do+ng for
some t+me no!: namel# Dopen+ng the m+n+str# to the ord+nar# Chr+st+an;E The >uest+on
+s: ho!$; Th+s manual !as !r+tten !+th the -on,+-t+on that a large part of the ans!er +s
to 4e found +n small group m+n+str#;
Small-group potential
I 4el+e,e: along !+th man# others: that there +s almost unl+m+ted potent+al for the
gro!th of the -hur-h +n Chr+st--entred: Sp+r+t-led: !ell organ+sed: and +ntent+onal small
group m+n+str#; I real+se: of -ourse: that the term Dsmall groupsE +s not ne! to most of
us; ?ouse groups and -ottage meet+ngs ha,e 4een part of the -hur-h for de-ades;
?o!e,er: the !a# small groups ha,e de,eloped +n re-ent #ears and the !a# God +s
us+ng them +n gro!+ng num4ers of -ongregat+ons is ne!: and ,er# e/-+t+ng; One -an
onl# guess at !hat m+ght happen to the Se,enth-da# 'd,ent+st Chur-h !orld-!+de +f
small groups !ere g+,en the+r proper pla-e e,er#!hereF
I am not suggest+ng that small groups offer a mag+- formula for -omplet+ng the Gospel
-omm+ss+on: spread+ng un+t# and lo,e +n the -hur-h: and lead+ng us +nd+,+duall# to
sp+r+tual matur+t#; I am s+mpl# suggest+ng that small groups are a d+,+nel# orda+ned
means !h+-h -an help us to a-h+e,e these goals;
One m+ght !+sh that small groups !ould de,elop naturall# out of !arm and lo,+ng
relat+onsh+ps alread# thr+,+ng +n the -hur-h: and some groups m+ght a-tuall# start that
!a#; In the real !orld: ho!e,er: small groups are needed to 4r+ng people - Chr+st+ans
and non-Chr+st+ans - -lose enough to ea-h other +n order for !arm and lo,+ng
relat+onsh+ps to de,elop and for the shar+ng of the Gospel to ta6e pla-e;
The purpose of this manual
Through th+s manual I ha,e s+mpl# attempted to pro,+de a ,er# 4r+ef +ntrodu-t+on to
small groups: and an o,er,+e! of !hat the# do: ho! the# !or6: and ho! 4est to
+ntrodu-e them +nto the l+fe of a lo-al 'd,ent+st -ongregat+on; In the pro-ess I ha,e
made fre>uent referen-es to a num4er of e/-ellent and more deta+led small-group
gu+de-4oo6s 4# other authors: !h+-h are a,a+la4le through 'd,ent+st 5oo6 Centres
and Chr+st+an 4oo6-shops; I re-ommend them to #ou;
'lthough th+s +s a manual: ma# I suggest that #ou read +t pra#erfull#$ It ma# 4e that
God +s +n,+t+ng #ou to ser,e as the leader of a small group: or to de,elop ne! s6+lls +f
#ou are alread# lead+ng one; If #ou are not -alled to 4e a leader: -erta+nl# ?e !ants
#ou to en=o# the 4less+ngs that -an onl# 4e found 4# gett+ng +n,ol,ed !+th a small
group; ?e also !ants to use #ou to 4less othersC and man# of the sp+r+tual g+fts ?e has
g+,en for th+s purpose are most effe-t+,e +n the -onte/t of a small group;
The challenge of big things to come
%
0lton True4lood: "our Other #ocation ANe! <or6: ?arper and 5rothers: %9(2B .2: >uoted +n
"+ll+am 5e-6ham: The $econd Reformation A?ouston: TG: TOUC? Pu4l+-at+ons: %99(B: %(;
.
One of the most -halleng+ng 4oo6s I ha,e read +n re-ent #ears +s Russell 5urr+lls 4oo6:
DRe,olut+on +n the Chur-h;E Cons+der th+s st+rr+ng e/tra-t:
%magine a church on fire with the power of the &oly $pirit. 'hat would
such a church look like( 'ould it look like your $e)enth*day +d)entist
church(
%n my mind,s eye % can picture such a church.....the members are ali)e with
the gospel of Christ. Their ser)ices are not dead formalism, but are ali)e with
the &oly $pirit,s power as members share week by week what -esus has been
doing in their li)es. .ach $abbath the church is re/oicing o)er new people
who ha)e come to know Christ through the ministry of the laity. %n this
imaginary church, e)ery member has a ministry. There are no idlers in this
church, for to be a Christian in this church means to be in)ol)ed in lo)ing
ministry for the 0aster. 1o)e, /oy and peace are seen in the members of this
church as they reflect the character of Christ to their community. +nd the
community responds....
2
It sounds l+6e a des-r+pt+on of the Ne! Testament -hur-h after Pente-ost: doesnt +t$
That !as a -hur-h of 4+g th+ngs - 4+g ,+s+on: 4+g e/per+en-e of God: and 4+g results;
There +s good reason to 4el+e,e that a modern Pente-ost !+th results at least e>ual to
those of the f+rst: -ould 4e =ust around the -orner;
's the t+me for Chr+stss return dra!s near: God has unpre-edented th+ngs +n m+nd for
?+s -hur-h; 0,en no!: ?e +s !or6+ng +n remar6a4le !a#s to mo,e us -loser to !here
?e !ants us to 4e +n order for us to pla# our part +n ?+s plan; )resh !+nds of the Sp+r+t
are 4lo!+ng: 4r+ng+ng rene!al and -hange: prepar+ng us for the 4+g th+ngs ?e has
planned for us; 'nd all the s+gns are that small group m+n+str# +s go+ng to pla# a large
part +n the !or6+ng out of those plans;
Please read on: and I hope #ou !+ll agree; To think BIG it makes sense to think
S!"## G$O%&S'
3a)id Co4
3epartment of 5ersonal 0inistries
$outh .ngland Conference
Confession of a Reformer
I know no other place under heaven, where I can have some [friends] always at
hand, of the same judgement, and engaged in the same studies; persons who are
awakened into a full conviction, that they have but one work to do upon earth; who
2
Russell 5urr+ll: Re)olution in the Church A)all4roo6: C': ?art Resear-h Center: %99.B: 2%;
*
see at a distance what that one work is, even the recovery of a single eye and a
clean heart; who, in order to do this, have, according to their power, absolutely
devoted themselves to od, and follow after their !ord, denying themselves, and
taking up their cross daily" #o have even a small number of such friends
constantly watching over my soul, and administering, as need is, reproof or advice
with all plainness and gentleness, is a blessing I know not where to find in any part
of the kingdom" $%ohn &esley'
(
Chapter One
S!"## G$O%&S - &"$T O( GO)*S &#"N
1et us be concerned for one another, to help one another to show lo)e and to do
good. 1et us not gi)e up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing. %nstead, let
us encourage one another all the more, since you see that the 3ay of the 1ord is
coming nearer. 6&ebrews !7829,2: ;NB<
.
-ournal of -ohn 'esley, De-em4er %&: %3.*: >uoted +n @+mm# 1ong A-o-ord+natorB $mall ;roup
1eaders, &andbook ADo!ners Gro,e: I11: Inter,ars+t# PressB: 29:.&;
(
mall groups are noth+ng ne! +n the Se,enth-da# 'd,ent+st Chur-h; Our !ee6l#
Sa44ath S-hool -lasses are small groups of people; Our de-+s+on-ma6+ng +s done
4# small group -omm+ttees; "e -ondu-t Re,elat+on sem+nars +n small groups;
'nd !e do a lot of other th+ngs through small groups as !ell; 5ut as !e Dsee that the
Da# of the 1ord +s -om+ng nearer:E +t ma# !ell 4e that God +s +n,+t+ng us to loo6 at
small groups +n a ne! and rad+-all# d+fferent !a#;
S
The 5+4le stor# and the e/per+en-e of the -hur-h 4oth -onf+rm that from the ,er#
4eg+nn+ng of human h+stor# to the present: small groups of one 6+nd or another ha,e
4een part of the d+,+ne plan for the human fam+l#; No!: as !e approa-h the end of
t+me and prepare for the se-ond -om+ng of @esus: S-r+pture urges us to fo-us on the
4u+ld+ng of relat+onsh+ps that are poss+4le onl# through small groups; Cons+der the
follo!+ng:
The fam+l# un+t !as the f+rst and most +mportant small group orda+ned 4# God; 's
far as man# +nd+,+dual fam+l+es m+ght 4e toda# from ?+s +deal 4e-ause of s+n: the
fam+l# +s st+ll the 4a-64one of so-+et# !orld-!+de;
'fter the 0/odus: God ga,e ?+s appro,al to the suggest+on of @ethro: that 2oses
should d+,+de the ent+re ne! nat+on of Israel Aperhaps as man# as t!o m+ll+on men
and !omen or more
*
B +nto groups of ten: not =ust to ma6e 2oses !or6 eas+er: 4ut
to ma6e God more a--ess+4le to the people A0/odus %8: note espe-+all# ,erse 2.B;
'lthough @esus had man# d+s-+ples: ?e +n,ested mu-h of ?+s t+me and energ# +n
de,elop+ng ?+s o!n small group of t!el,e; A2ar6 .:%.-%(C 1u6e :%2:%.B; ?e
taught them to 4e -ompletel# dependent on ?+m and on ea-h another;
Th+s arrangement !as -learl# an e/-ellent means of +ntens+,e tra+n+ng and personal
de,elopment for themC +t ser,ed as a model for the -hur-h of the future +n !h+-h
the# !ould 4e leadersC 4ut +t also pro,+ded mutual support and en-ouragement
4oth for the d+s-+ples and @esus ?+mself; ?e !as there !hen the# needed ?+mC and:
though the# let ?+m do!n o--as+onall#: the# !ere usuall# there !hen ?e needed
them; )or th+s ?e !as grateful; A1u6e 22:28B
The Ne! Testament -hur-h !as a small group -hur-h; Partl# 4e-ause the -lose
relat+onsh+ps !h+-h 4ound Chr+sts f+rst d+s-+ples together -ould onl# 4e susta+ned +n
small groups: and partl# 4e-ause @e!+sh an+mos+t# made +t d+ff+-ult for them to meet
regularl# +n pu4l+- pla-es: 4el+e,ers met together +n ea-h others homes; "h+le the#
also met together +n larger num4ers !hene,er and !here,er the# -ould: the essen-e
and gen+us of the apostol+- -hur-h !as th+s net!or6 of small groups to !h+-h
e,er#one 4elonged; These small groups pla#ed an +mportant part +n the amaH+ng
numer+-al gro!th of the -hur-h after Pente-ost Afrom %2& to o,er %&:&&& 4el+e,ers
+n a fe! monthsFB: and the de,elopment of +ts un+>ue fello!sh+p A'-ts %:%(C *:*C
(:*2 et-;B;
Neros de-ree aga+nst Chr+st+an+t# +n ';D; * also meant that +t !as +mposs+4le for
Chr+st+ans to 4u+ld an# sort of meet+ng pla-e !e m+ght -all a -hur-h: 4e-ause
*
On the D&&:&&& menE ment+oned +n 0/odus %2:.3: see 0llen G; "h+te: 5atriarchs and 5rophets
A2ounta+n I+e!: C': Pa-+f+- Press: %9(8B: ..*:*%&;

Chr+st+an assem4l# !as +llegal; <et the -hur-h not onl# sur,+,ed: 4ut thr+,ed
throughout the Roman emp+re !+thout -hur-h 4u+ld+ngs for 2(& #ears unt+l the t+me
of Constant+ne;
The sp+r+tual de-l+ne +n the -hur-h !h+-h follo!ed the apostol+- per+od and
resulted +n almost total apostas# !as due +n part to -hanges +n +ts stru-ture !h+-h
o--urred s+multaneousl# !+th -hanges +n do-tr+ne; The emperor Constant+ne !as
respons+4le not onl# for the f+rst -+,+l la! -on-ern+ng Sunda# o4ser,an-eC he also
ere-ted se,eral of the earl+est -hur-h 4u+ld+ngs +n the Roman 0mp+re; In sp+te of the
Ne! Testament tea-h+ng that God no! l+,es +n and among ?+s people rather than
+n 4u+ld+ngs: h+s 4as+l+-as !ere des+gnated as sa-red pla-es to 4e used onl# for
rel+g+ous purposes and -lerg# !ere appo+nted to ser,e +n them;
Thus 4egan a trend !h+-h led to the +ne,+ta4le -onse>uen-e that 4u+ld+ngs: rather
than homes: graduall# 4e-ame the -entre of -hur-h l+fe; It also helped to -reate the
uns-r+ptural d+st+n-t+on 4et!een -lerg# and la+t# !h+-h rema+ns !+th us to th+s da#;
0,er s+n-e: -hur-h l+fe has re,ol,ed largel# around 4u+ld+ngs +nstead of people: and
m+n+str# has 4een seen as the respons+4+l+t# of pr+ests and pastors +nstead of e,er#
Chr+st+an;
Small groups ha,e pla#ed an +mportant part +n reformat+on and re,+,al; ?o!ard
Sn#der ma+nta+ns that D)irtually e)ery ma/or mo)ement of spiritual renewal in the
Christian church has been accompanied by a return to the small group and the
proliferation of such groups in pri)ate homes for Bible study, prayer and
discussion of the faith.
:
One su-h mo,ement !as the remar6a4le re,+,al !h+-h too6 pla-e +n 0ngland under
the leadersh+p of @ohn and Charles "esle#; @ohn "esle# !rote that no circuit
6district of churches< e)er did or e)er will flourish unless there are small groups
in the large society 6congregation<.
=
?+s t!el,e-mem4er house-groups 4e-ame
the 4as+s of the later D-lass-meet+ngsE of the 2ethod+st -hur-h: !h+-h +n turn ma#
ha,e +nfluen-ed the de,elopment of D-ottage meet+ngsE and other forms of small
groups +n the 'd,ent+st -hur-h;
The Se,enth-da# 'd,ent+st Chur-h 4egan !+th a strong emphas+s on small-groups:
3

partl# 4e-ause of +ts 2ethod+st roots and partl# 4e-ause of the +nsp+red -ounsel of
0llen "h+te;
8
)or e/ample: dur+ng 0llen "h+tes ,+s+t to 'ustral+a: a ma=or Chr+st+an
re,+,al too6 pla-e +n 2el4ourne: at the he+ght of !h+-h 2&&& small groups !ere
meet+ng +n homes all o,er the -+t#;
9
She su4se>uentl# !rote: The formation of
small companies as a basis of Christian effort has been presented to me by One
who cannot err.
%&
Thousands of Chr+st+an -ongregat+ons throughout the !orld ha,e e/per+en-ed
outstand+ng numer+-al and sp+r+tual gro!th +n re-ent #ears; 'lmost !+thout
(
?o!ard Sn#der: The 5roblem of 'ineskins ADo!ners Gro,e: I11: Inter,ars+t# Press: %93(B: %*;

7uoted 4# @ohn 2all+son: The $mall ;roup 1eader A5let-hle#: 0ngland: S-r+pture Un+on: %99B: %;
3
)or further +nformat+on on the pla-e of small groups +n the earl# 'd,ent+st -hur-h: see Russell
5urr+ll: The Re)olutioni>ed Church of the 2!st Century A)all4roo6: C': ?art Resear-h Center: %993B
8
)or a sele-t+on of statements 4# 0llen "h+te on small groups: see 'ppend+/ C;
9
)or add+t+onal -omments on 0llen "h+tes e/posure to th+s and other small group s+tuat+ons: see
Jurt @ohnson: $mall ;roup Outreach A?agersto!n: 2D: Re,+e! and ?erald: %99%B: %8:%9;
%&
0llen G; "h+te: Testimonies, #ol : A2ounta+n I+e!: C': Pa-+f+- PressB: 2%:22
3
e/-ept+on: small groups ha,e pla#ed: and -ont+nue to pla#: a ,er# s+gn+f+-ant role +n
those -ongregat+ons;
In -ountr+es su-h as Ch+na !here the -hur-h has 4een perse-uted and threatened
!+th e/t+n-t+on: +t has not onl# sur,+,ed: 4ut flour+shed: through the m+n+str# of
small groups: desp+te the a4sen-e of profess+onal pastoral leadersh+p;
In 0ngland: appro/+matel# one m+ll+on +nd+,+duals
%%

are no! +n,ol,ed +n Chr+st+an
small groups: !h+-h the ?ol# Sp+r+t appears to 4e us+ng to !+n un4el+e,ers to fa+th:
re,+tal+se the sp+r+tual l+,es of +nd+,+duals and -ongregat+ons: and fo-us attent+on on
the stud# of the 5+4le;
In -hur-hes !here small groups operate effe-t+,el#:
- mem4ers gro! more >u+-6l# +n sp+r+tual matur+t#
- fe!er lea,e 4# the 4a-6 door
- a deeper le,er of -are and -on-ern +s e/per+en-ed for -hur-h
and -ommun+t#
- 4etter -ross--ultural understand+ng e/+sts among mem4ers +f the -hur-h +s a
mult+--ultural -ommun+t#
- sp+r+tual g+fts are more eas+l# +dent+f+ed and de,eloped
- people !+th no -hur-h 4a-6ground are more eas+l# !on to fa+th +n Chr+st
It +s -lear: then: that small groups ha,e al!a#s 4een part of Gods plan for men and
!omen: e,en +f the# ha,e not al!a#s fun-t+oned as ?e +ntended them to; Indeed:
4efore !e end th+s -hapter: let us not m+ss one ,er# str+6+ng deta+l;
's the plan of sal,at+on has unfolded through human h+stor#: three e,ents stand out
a4o,e all the others +n the+r +mportan-e; The# are:
The 0/odus
The )+rst 'd,ent
The Se-ond 'd,ent
On ea-h of these three o--as+ons - the esta4l+shment of the nat+on of Israel: the
esta4l+shment of the Chr+st+an -hur-h: and the gather+ng and prepar+ng of Gods people
4efore the 6+ngdom of God +s f+nall# esta4l+shed - !e see that small groups !ere and
are orda+ned 4# God to pla# a ,er# s+gn+f+-ant part;
Ours +s the pr+,+lege and respons+4+l+t# of l+,+ng =ust 4efore the th+rd and last of these
great e,ents; 's the Da# of the 1ord dra!s nearer: !e -an e/pe-t the ?ol# Sp+r+t to
lead the -hur-h to the sp+r+tual and numer+-al gro!th that !e ha,e dreamed of and
pra#ed for; Small groups: used 4# God: !+ll pro4a4l# do more than an#th+ng else to
prepare us for that e/per+en-e and 6eep us together unt+l the Da# of the 1ord arr+,es;
"hat 4etter reason -ould there 4e than th+s: for us to as6 God to help us to see small
groups as ?e sees them: gu+de us +n organ+s+ng them: and help us to e/per+en-e the+r
full potent+al
%%
Peter Cotterell: $mall ;roups, Big Results A0ast4ourne: UJ: J+ngs!a# Pu4l+-at+ons 1td;: %99.B: (;
8
#ransformed
&e met in the basement of #oby)*endall +all" #he #"," was turned off, and we
gathered in a circle on the run)down couches and torn)up carpet" &e were a mi-ed
group of new students, seniors, education majors, music majors, .uiet souls and
outgoing personalities" / 0ible lay on each person1s lap opened to the book of
Romans" /s we read and studied od1s &ord, the truths that we saw transformed
us as individuals and as a group" 2ometimes we struggled to understand, and
sometimes we sat in awe" 0ut each time we met od"
34

Chapter Two
+,"T S!"## G$O%&S "$E
+nd e)ery day in the Temple and in people,s homes they continued to teach and
preach the ;ood News about -esus the 0essiah. 6+cts :892 ;NB<
here are small groups: and there are small groups; The# -an ha,e e+ther a
pos+t+,e or negat+,e +nfluen-e on the -hur-h;; Small groups ha,e 4rought ne!
l+fe to man# -ongregat+ons: and h+ndered the gro!th of others; Resear-h
+nd+-ates that the 4est small groups are those !h+-h: 4# def+n+t+on:
T
aB are an essent+al part of the -hur-hs l+fe and stru-ture
4B ha,e a gro!th mental+t#
-B operate relat+onall#
1ets ta6e a -loser loo6 at these -hara-ter+st+-s of health#: Chr+st+an small groups;
%2
Patt# Pell: $mall ;roup 1eaders, &andbook ADo!ners Gro,e: I1: InterIars+t# Press: %99(B: (.;
9
a- Small groups are an essential part of the church*s life and structure'
2an# 'd,ent+st -hur-hes ha,e Dtr+edE small groups: !+th ,ar#+ng degrees of su--ess;
Unfortunatel#: e,en the most outstand+ng su--ess stor+es ha,e usuall# 4een relat+,el#
short-l+,ed - after the +n+t+al su--ess those small groups ha,e stagnated or d+ed; One
reason for th+s fa+lure +s that small groups ha,e usuall# fun-t+oned as an opt+onal e/tra:
ta-6ed on to an alread# 4us# -hur-h programme: formed to ser,e a s+ngle spe-+f+-
purpose su-h as e,angel+sm: nurture: pra#er or 5+4le stud#;
In order for small groups to su--eed and 4e trul# effe-t+,e: ho!e,er: the# must
4e-ome the 4as+- 4u+ld+ng 4lo-6 of the -hur-h +tself; In Ne! Testament t+mes: small
groups !ere to the -hur-h !hat -ells are to the 4od#; @ust as the 4od# performs all +ts
fun-t+ons largel# at -ell-le,el and gro!s onl# as the -ells gro!: so the small-group
-hur-h a--ompl+shes !hat +t +s tr#+ng to a-h+e,e largel# through +ts small groups: and
the -hur-h gro!s 4e-ause +ts small groups gro!;
"h+le d+fferent Dsu4-groupsE -an 4e formed to ser,e d+fferent purposes: the pr+mar#
small group +tself should fun-t+on as an on-go+ng: 4as+- Chr+st+an -ommun+t#;
'n# -ongregat+on !h+-h de,elops a small-group net!or6 of th+s 6+nd: !h+-h +s
essent+al to the -hur-hs l+fe and stru-ture: -ould 4e des-r+4ed as a small-group -hur-h:
rather than s+mpl# a -hur-h !+th small groups; The groups 4e-ome the -hur-hs
pr+n-+pal m+n+str# 4ase: and should 4e super,+sed 4# the pastor or a sen+or mem4er of
the pastoral team;
b- Small groups ha.e a gro/th mentalit0
' small group +s not =ust a small num4er of people meet+ng together; It +s a small
num4er of people Ausuall# 4et!een (-%2B !ho meet together !+th the spe-+f+- +ntent+on
to gro!; One part+-ular -hur-h +n Ch+-ago !h+-h gre! from =ust a small num4er to a
mem4ersh+p of o,er fourteen thousand +n less than t!ent# #ears: and presentl# 4apt+ses
hundreds of Dun--hur-hedE -on,erts e,er# #ear: no! operates a net!or6 of more than
a thousand small groups throughout the -+t#; Th+s +s the+r small group statement of
m+ss+on:
To connect people relationally in groups 6four to ten indi)iduals< for the
purpose of growing in Christlikeness, lo)ing one another, and contributing to
the work of the church, in order to glorify ;od and make disciples of all
nations.
!?
%.
5+ll Donahue: 1eading 1ife*Changing $mall ;roups AGrand Rap+ds: 2I: Konder,an Pu4l+sh+ng
?ouse: %99B: 2%;
0lders su4-group Support su4-group
Ae;g; 2ums and toddlersB
Comm+ttee su4-group &rimar0 Small Group
A'<S: "orsh+p: A5as+- Chr+st+an Outrea-h su4-group
Sa44ath S-hool: et-;B Commun+t#B Ae;g; 1+terature m+n+str#B
Dea-ons su4-group Tea-h+ng su4-group
Ae;g; 5apt+smal -lassB
%&
Th+s statement refle-ts the th+n6+ng of -ountless gro!+ng -ongregat+ons +n !h+-h:
almost !+thout e/-ept+on: small groups pla# a ,+tal part +n the gro!+ng pro-ess; The
statement also +nd+-ates that small groups fun-t+on to produ-e gro!th +n at least three
areas:
+; Gro!th +n our relat+onsh+p !+th God; Chr+st+an d+s-+plesh+p -ons+sts: f+rst and
foremost: of a relat+onsh+p of trust: lo,e and o4ed+en-e to!ard a Person: rather
than agreement !+th a set of do-tr+nes; One reason !h# !e need small groups
+s that our personal relat+onsh+p !+th God gro!s not onl# through pr+,ate
pra#er: 5+4le stud# and de,ot+on: 4ut also through +ntera-t+on on a personal:
+nt+mate le,el: +n 5+4le stud#: pra#er and !orsh+p;
Small group m+n+str# +s 4ased on the 5+4les tea-h+ng that the -hur-h AGods
peopleB +s the 4od# of Chr+st A0phes+ans %:22:2.B: and that !here a small
num4er gather +n @esus name: ?e +s !+th them A2atthe! %8:2&B; If Chr+st +s
the fo-us of small group l+fe: the a+m of the group should 4e to gro! together:
as !ell as +nd+,+duall#: +n ?+m;
++; Gro!th +n our relat+onsh+ps !+th ea-h other; "e m+ght l+6e to th+n6 that
people !ho meet +n a group +n order to gro! sp+r+tuall#: !ould naturall# gro!
+n the+r sense of fello!sh+p !+th ea-h other; It doesnt ne-essar+l# !or6 that
!a#; "h+le there +s some truth +n the sa#+ng that Dthose !ho pra# together: sta#
together:E !e 6no! that human relat+onsh+ps are not >u+te as s+mple as that;
Our rel+g+ous -on,+-t+ons and sp+r+tual -on-erns -ome from deep !+th+n us; 's
'd,ent+sts !e feel pass+onatel# a4out those th+ngs !h+-h are +mportant to us:
su-h as D5+4le truthE and D5+4le standardsE of l+fest#le; )rom the 4eg+nn+ng: !e
ha,e 4een a message-dr+,en mo,ement: and !e are an/+ous not to lessen the
+mportan-e of our message 4# em4ra-+ng too !+de a spe-trum of op+n+on on
-erta+n po+nts of do-tr+ne or +ssues of l+fest#le;
Not surpr+s+ngl#: +n defend+ng our tea-h+ngs and uphold+ng our standards: !e
ha,e somet+mes 4een harsh and =udgemental to!ard those !ho d+ffer !+th us -
e,en our fello! 'd,ent+sts - and some ha,e 4een hurt as a result; 2an# ha,e
left the -hur-h s+mpl# 4e-ause relat+onsh+ps ha,e 4een 4ro6en 4# d+fferen-es of
op+n+on o,er do-tr+ne; Others ha,e 4een d+s-ouraged from =o+n+ng us;
5ut +t doesnt ha,e to 4e th+s !a#; Small groups are -omm+tted to 4u+ld+ng
pos+t+,e: deep and last+ng relat+onsh+ps 4et!een +nd+,+duals through a more
relat+onal approa-h to 5+4le stud# and pra#er; Th+s approa-h: !h+-h +s
d+s-ussed +n more deta+l later +n th+s manual: ena4les 4oth the ,ert+-al
relat+onsh+p A4et!een oursel,es and GodB and the hor+Hontal relat+onsh+p
A4et!een oursel,es and othersB to de,elop s+multaneousl# !+thout
-omprom+s+ng !hat !e -ons+der to 4e +mportant and true;
@esus ?+mself ga,e the sp+r+t of the la! pr+or+t# o,er the letter of the la!: and
e/pla+ned that all re,ealed truth onl# has mean+ng and ,alue !hen +t +s
understood +n terms of our relat+onsh+ps !+th God and !+th ea-h other
A2atthe! (:2%-*8C 22:*&B; So group mem4ers !ho strongl# d+sagree !+th ea-h
other - t!o Chr+st+ans: perhaps: or a Chr+st+an and a non-Chr+st+an - -an st+ll
%%
de,elop a strong: pos+t+,e relat+onsh+p !+th ea-h other: !h+le the# ea-h
endea,our to de,elop the+r relat+onsh+p !+th God;
+++; Gro!th of small groups through e,angel+sm; The numer+-al
gro!th of the -hur-h should 4e a natural -on-ern of e,er#
Chr+st+an and therefore e,er# small group; 5u+lt +n to our
th+n6+ng should 4e the need to share !+th others the e/per-
+en-e !e en=o#: and the des+re to 4e used 4# the ?ol# Sp+r+t
to lead them to fa+th +n Chr+st; 's suggested 4# the
empt# -ha+r +n the small group logo: +t +s the pra#er and
purpose of small groups to gro! +n s+He and num4er; The
pr+n-+ple +s that the -ongregat+on !+ll gro! as groups gro! and mult+pl#;

c- Small groups operate relationall0
2ost +f not all 'd,ent+st -hur-h meet+ngs are 4ased on t!o st#les: or a -om4+nat+on of
the t!o: prea-h+ng and tea-h+ng; In prea-h+ng: the spea6er addresses the -ongregat+on:
!h+le the -ongregat+on l+stens: an# response +s usuall# l+m+ted to +nd+-at+ons of
agreement or appro,al: su-h as D'men;E In tea-h+ng: the spea6er - !ho does most of
the tal6+ng - addresses the Dstudents:E !ho are en-ouraged to respond !+th -omments
or >uest+ons addressed to the tea-her; 5+4le stud# groups: Sa44ath S-hool -lasses:
sem+nars: -ottage meet+ngs: et-;: ha,e generall# follo!ed th+s tea-h+ng st#le;
Small groups: +n order to 4e effe-t+,e +n all three areas of gro!th des-r+4ed a4o,e:
endea,our to follo! a relat+onal st#le !h+-h ena4les mem4ers of the group to +ntera-t
!+th ea-h other as e>uals; The follo!+ng d+agram +llustrates the d+fferen-es +n these
three st#les:
D+agrams added at Stan4orough Press
ASee page 2* +n 4oo6B
"h+le +t -ould 4e sa+d that the ma+n fun-t+on of prea-h+ng +s to +nsp+re: and the ma+n
fun-t+on of tea-h+ng +s to +mpart +nformat+on Aand !e often -om4+ne 4oth st#lesB: the
ma+n fun-t+on of relat+onal -ommun+-at+on +s to 4u+ld relat+onsh+ps 4# ena4l+ng group
mem4ers to share the+r +ns+ghts: understand+ng and e/per+en-e !+th ea-h other; The
role of the group leader +s that of fa-+l+tator: en-ourag+ng all !+th+n the group to
part+-+pate: and to 6eep the stud#Ld+s-uss+on !+th+n the su4=e-t and mo,+ng to!ards a
su+ta4le goal; On-e the group +s fam+l+ar and -omforta4le !+th th+s st#le: the leader !+ll
often spend no more t+me tal6+ng than an# other mem4er of the group;
%2
*atherine1s 2tory
*atherine lived in 2oviet Russia, some years before the collapse of communism"
0ecause she was a Christian, she was transferred with several of her 5ennonite
friends to a labour camp in 2iberia" !iving conditions in the barracks were
e-tremely primitive" +er bed was a wooden board covered with a thin layer of
straw"
Relatives in Canada succeeded after some time in getting permission for her to visit
them" #hey paid for her ticket and she was given a three)months travel visa,
although their plan was for her to defect from Russia and never return" +er arrival
in Canada was like /lice arriving in &onderland" /s she travelled in their
beautiful cars from one splendid house to another, she could not imagine royalty
living in more lu-ury" 2he couldn1t believe that ordinary people could own so many
things"
/fter several weeks, *atharine1s relatives were ama6ed to hear her say that she
couldn1t wait to return to her home" 2he did not wish to remain in Canada" 78ou
can1t be serious,9 they responded" 7/fter all you have told us, why do you want to
go back to 2iberia:9
*atharine1s answer was simple" 7I don1t think I can e-plain to you why I want to
go back" /ll I can say is that you have all your things, and your whole life seems to
revolve around them" ;ver there we have nothing, but we have each other" I want
to get back to my brothers and sisters in Christ where we live for one other"9
3<
%*
Th+s stor# +s told +n 'l4ert @; "ollan: ;od at 'ork in $mall ;roups A1ondon: S-r+pture Un+on:
%98.B: *.:**;
%.
Chapter Three
+,1 S!"## G$O%&S?
Then -esus went up a hill and called to &imself the men he wanted. They came to
&im, and &e chose twel)e.... 60ark ?8!?,!9 ;NB<
mall groups are part of l+fe; The small group of the fam+l# un+t +s st+ll seen 4# the
ma=or+t# of people as the 4as+s of so-+et#; The pu4 +s popular not so mu-h
4e-ause +t sells al-ohol 4ut 4e-ause +t pro,+des a pla-e for small groups of
fr+ends to meet together; Clu4s of all 6+nds thr+,e 4e-ause the# 4r+ng together small
groups of people !ho share -ommon +nterests +n sport: mus+-: f+tness: et-;
S
Small groups ha,e an +mportant part to pla# +n our ne! l+fe +n Chr+st also; In fa-t !e
-an +dent+f# three +mportant reasons !h# !e need small-groups +n our -hur-hes;
aB The# 4u+ld Chr+st+an -ommun+t#
4B The# empo!er mem4ers for m+n+str#
-B The# -omplement large groups
a- Small groups build Christian communit0'
If there +s one th+ng people +n the modern !orld #earn for more than an#th+ng else: +t
surel# has to 4e a sense of 4elong+ng: a sense of -ommun+t#; 's G+l4ert 5+leH+6+an
e/pla+ns +t so !ell:
The silent churning at the core of our beings is the tormenting need to know and be
known, to understand and to be understood, to possess and to be possessed, to belong
unconditionally and fore)er without fear of loss, betrayal, or re/ection. %t is the
nostalgia for our primal oneness, the silent sorrowing for paradise lost, the agelong
%*
pursuit after the encompassing embrace for which we know we were created. %t is the
search....for the freedom to be who we really are without shame or pretense, for
release and repose in the womb*like safety of unalterable acceptance and of
o)erarching lo)e.
!:

"h# do !e #earn for th+s sense of 4elong+ng$ 5e-ause !e !ere -reated for +t: and !e
-annot trul# l+,e !+thout +t; 5ut s+n has ro44ed us of +t: and +n our s+nful state !e -an
ne,er e/per+en-e +t; ?o!e,er: as our Sa,+our: @esus -ame to restore !hat !as lost 4#
s+n; So mu-h of !hat @esus sa+d and d+d !as a+med at re-4u+ld+ng Chr+st+an -ommun+t#:
and the e/per+en-e of the earl# -hur-h +s on re-ord to sho! that +t -an happen;
Through Chr+st: !e too -an on-e aga+n en=o# the 6+nd of fello!sh+p that God +ntended
for us: 4oth !+th ?+mself and !+th ea-h another;
In the modern !orld: the need for su-h fello!sh+p +s pro4a4l# greater than +t has e,er
4een: e,en among Chr+st+ans; Cons+der the follo!+ng fa-ts:
The trad+t+onal fam+l# un+t: !h+le st+ll popular: +s no longer as sta4le as +t on-e !as
A*2M of marr+ages +n the U;J; no! end +n d+,or-e: and stat+st+-s !+th+n the -hur-h
are not so d+fferent to those +n so-+et#B;
The a,erage person mo,es home at least three t+mes dur+ng h+s or her !or6+ng l+fe;
C+t+es and to!ns are -hara-ter+sed 4# ra-+alL-ultural d+,ers+t# !h+-h often g+,es r+se
to pre=ud+-e and d+strust;
The generat+on gap 4et!een the old and the #oung +s !+der than e,er;
Chr+st+ans often f+nd that the# are the onl# ones !ho 4el+e,e +n Chr+st !+th+n the
fam+l# -+r-le or among fr+ends at !or6;
Denom+nat+onal lo#alt#: 4ased on a shared 4el+ef +n Dthe messageE or a set of
do-tr+nes: +s no longer seen as +mportant as +t on-e !as; Chr+st+ans no! sense the
need to 4e -omm+tted to ea-h other +n a more personal !a#;
5ut +snt e,er# 'd,ent+st -hur-h a Chr+st+an -ommun+t# alread#$ "ell: -ompare #our
e/per+en-e of -hur-h !+th the earl# -hur-h des-r+4ed +n the 4oo6 of '-ts A2:**-*:
*:.2-.(: et-;B and de-+de for #ourself; Some of toda#s -ongregat+ons pro,+de !armer
and more a--ept+ng fello!sh+p than others: 4ut most: #ou !+ll pro4a4l# agree: st+ll ha,e
some !a# to go; ?ere are three reasons !h#:
+; Trad+t+onal -hur-h ser,+-es do not lend themsel,es to de,elop+ng a strong sense
of Chr+st+an -ommun+t#; 0spe-+all# +n our larger -hur-hes: Sa44ath ser,+-es - !h+-h
are the onl# ser,+-es the ma=or+t# of mem4ers attend - -ons+st of h#mns: pra#ers
and sermons: and pro,+de l+ttle or no opportun+t# for mem4ers to share the+r
e/per+en-es !+th ea-h other and get to 6no! ea-h other !ell; 0,en Sa44ath S-hool
-lasses and pra#er meet+ngs tend to follo! an o4=e-t+,e >uest+onLans!er approa-h
to 5+4le stud# and a formal approa-h to pra#er;
%(
G+l4ert 5+leH+6+an: Community !7! AGrand Rap+ds: 2I: Konder,an Pu4l+sh+ng ?ouseB: %(;
%(
++; 2an# Sa44ath morn+ng -ongregat+ons are large enough for those !ho attend to
feel part of a -ro!d of =o#ful Chr+st+ans -ele4rat+ng the gra-e of GodC 4ut the# ma#
4e too large for them to e/per+en-e a deep sense of -ommun+t#: !h+-h +s >u+te a
d+fferent th+ng; If pro,+s+on +s not made on other o--as+ons to help mem4ers and
fr+ends 6no! and feel that the# trul# 4elong to the heart of the Chr+st+an
-ommun+t#: +t +s d+ff+-ult to -reate that sense of 4elong+ng on Sa44ath morn+ng +n
man# of our -hur-hes;
'fter all: +n the l+m+ted t+me a,a+la4le: !e -an onl# -ommun+-ate mean+ngfull# !+th
a l+m+ted num4er of people; It follo!s that the larger the -ongregat+on: the more
+mpersonal +t -an 4e-ome; @ust -ons+der the amaH+ng num4er of -ommun+-at+on
l+nes that e/+st: at least potent+all#: among relat+,el# small num4ers of people; If
e,er#one -ould spea6 to e,er#one else Ae/-ept themsel,esFB: the e>uat+on !ould
loo6 l+6e th+s:
Ten people2 34 5 34 - 34 6 74 communication lines
One hundred people2 344 5 344 - 344 6 7744 lines
T/o hundred and fift0 people2 894 5 894 - 894 6 :8894 lines

It +s true that fr+ends meet to tal6 +n small huddles after ser,+-e: 4ut e,en these -an
-reate an atmosphere of e/-lus+,eness rather than +n-lus+,eness for those !ho do
not 4elong to su-h a -+r-le; 0,er# -hur-h needs an all-+n-lus+,e small group
net!or6 to help 4u+ld true: Chr+st+an -ommun+t#;
+++; 0+ther !e ha,e ne,er learned or !e ha,e forgotten: ho! to -reate a sense of
-ommun+t# 4et!een people !ho are strangers to ea-h other; 1ast+ng fr+endsh+ps
ma# de,elop naturall# o,er a per+od of t+me 4et!een Chr+st+ans !ho !orsh+p and
fello!sh+p !+th ea-h other ea-h !ee6 o,er a per+od of t+me; 5ut !e need to
re-ogn+se that: at least +n the modern !orld: Ne! Testament-st#le -ommun+t# does
not: as a general rule: =ust DhappenE 4# +tself +n the a,erage -hur-h;
"e need the st#les and s6+lls of -ommun+-at+on that are de,eloped through
properl#-fun-t+on+ng small groups to fa-+l+tate a deeper sense of -ommun+t# among
all !ho share +n the -hur-hs fello!sh+p;
The admonition to ;lo.e one another'< @esus taught ?+s d+s-+ples to Dlo,e one
anotherE as ?e had lo,ed them A@ohn %.:.*B; ?e e,en !ent so far as to sa# that +t !as
the+r lo,e for ea-h other that !ould -on,+n-e e,er#one else that the# !ere true
d+s-+ples - and +f @esus sa+d +t: +t must 4e true; So !e 4el+e,e +t; 5ut do !e do +t$ 0,en
more +mportant: -an !e do +t: and -an un4el+e,ers see us do+ng +t: the !a# !e Ddo
-hur-hE at the moment$ "e do our 4est: 4ut !e -ould do 4etterF
Some ;One "nother< Te5ts
D5e de,oted to one anotherE ARomans %2:%&B
D?onour one anotherE Ad+ttoB
D'--ept one anotherE ARomans %(:3B
DInstru-t one anotherE ARomans %(:%*B
DSer,e one anotherE AGalat+ans (:%.B
DCarr# ea-h others 4urdenE AGalat+ans :2B
D5e pat+ent: 4ear+ng !+th one another +n lo,eE A0phes+ans *:2B
%
D5e 6+nd and -ompass+onate to one anotherE A0phes+ans *:.2B
DSu4m+t to one another out of re,eren-e for Chr+stE A0phes+ans (:2%B
DTea-h one anotherE AColoss+ans .:%B
D'dmon+sh one anotherE Ad+ttoB
D0n-ourage ea-h otherE AI Thessalon+ans *:%8B
D5u+ld ea-h other upE AI Thessalon+ans (:%%B
DConfess #our s+ns to ea-h otherE A@ames (:%B
DPra# for one anotherE Ad+ttoB
In the sett+ng of the !ee6l# -hur-h meet+ng !here -onta-t 4et!een mem4ers as a
!hole tends to 4e -asual: man# of these Done anotherE ,erses are d+ff+-ult to appl#; It
appears the# !ere +ntended for a rather d+fferent sett+ng !here relat+onsh+ps operate at
a deeper le,el; 'nd so the# !ere; Those Done anotherE admon+t+ons !ere addressed to
the small groups of Chr+st+ans of !h+-h the ent+re Ne! Testament -hur-h -ons+sted; In
order for toda#s d+s-+ples to lo,e one another as @esus sa+d !e should: toda#s -hur-h
also needs a net!or6 of small groups that !+ll de,elop the -ommun+t# +n and through
!h+-h that lo,e -an 4e demonstrated;
b- Small groups empo/er members for ministr0'
"e 4el+e,e the 5+4le tea-h+ng of the pr+esthood of all 4el+e,ers; "e also a--ept that
e,er# 4el+e,er +s a m+n+ster of Chr+st - =ust as mu-h as a pastor +s - -alled 4# God to
ser,e ?+m a--ord+ng to the g+fts and a4+l+t+es ?e has g+,en them; "h#: then: +s there
st+ll a !+despread feel+ng that the full potent+al of la# m+n+str# has #et to 4e unleashed$
%

One reason Aand no dou4t there are othersB -ould !ell 4e that our trad+t+onal
understand+ng of la# m+n+str#: and -onse>uentl# the m+n+str# stru-ture of the lo-al
-hur-h: +s l+m+ted;
In the past !e ha,e somet+mes -on-luded that +f mem4ers !ere not a-t+,el# +n,ol,ed +n
the !or6 of the -hur-h +t !as 4e-ause the# !ere un-omm+tted: 4us#: laH# or +n-apa4le:
or the# needed more or 4etter pastors to +nsp+re them; To +n-rease and +mpro,e the+r
+n,ol,ement +n -hur-h l+fe: !e ha,e therefore fo-used our energ+es on them: edu-at+ng
them Adepartmental !or6shops: 5+4le -lasses: et-;BC mot+,at+ng them A+n-ent+,es:
re!ards: et-;BC ma6+ng them feel gu+lt# Areport+ng +n pu4l+-: D"hat !ould @esus do$E
sermons: et-;BC fr+ghten+ng them A@udgement da# sermons: et-;BC and +mpro,+ng the+r
pastorLmem4er rat+o;
5ut !hat +f the people are not the real pro4lem$ "hat +f the ma=or+t# of -hur-h
mem4ers are -omm+tted: are a4le: and genu+nel# do !ant to ser,e the+r 1ord
effe-t+,el#: 4ut are restr+-ted +n !hat the# -an do to help mo,e the -hur-h for!ard 4#
fa-tors outs+de the+r -ontrol$ 1#le S-haller: +n h+s 4oo6 The Change +gent,
re-ogn+ses th+s poss+4+l+t#; ?e !r+tes:
@nless there is a change in the direction, )alue system, and orientation of
the organisation, freAuently there are se)ere limitations on what can be
accomplished by changes in people or by the addition of new personnel.
!B
%
Th+s +s the -ons+stent f+nd+ng of >uest+onna+res: sur,e#s and +nter,+e!s -ondu-ted 4# the author; It
+s a Dfeel+ngE -hur-h mem4ers ha,e: perhaps 4orn of gu+lt: 4ut more l+6el# due to the fa-t that the# do
not 6no! !hat the+r sp+r+tual g+fts are A!h+-h man# adm+tB andLor !hat Chr+st+an m+n+str# +s;
%3
1#le 0; S-haller: 5e-6ham: The Change +gent8 The $trategy of %nno)ati)e 1eadership
ANash,+lle:'4+ngdon: %932B: %3(: >uoted +n 5e-6ham: The $econd Reformation, !99.
%3
If that +s true: then tr#+ng to get -hur-h mem4ers to !or6 harder or produ-e 4etter
results !+th+n the e/+st+ng def+n+t+on and stru-ture of la# m+n+str#: or add+ng more
profess+onal pastors to the Conferen-e pa#roll +s not the solut+on; Rather: !e need to
loo6 at the m+n+str# s#stem +tself - !hat !e a-tuall# mean 4# la# and profess+onal
m+n+str#: and ho! !e m+ght -hange or +mpro,e the !a# !e m+n+ster together;
?ere are four !a#s +n !h+-h trad+t+onal ,+e!s of the -hur-h: +ts m+n+str# and +ts 4el+efs:
ma# ha,e l+m+ted the +n,ol,ement of 4el+e,ers +n m+n+str#:
+; The -lerg#Lla+t# mental+t#; The pastor +s ,+e!ed as the real m+n+ster: tra+ned
and pa+d for the !or6 heLshe doesC -hur-h mem4ers see the+r role as supporters
of h+sLher m+n+str#; Thus there +s a lo! le,el of la# part+-+pat+on +n -erta+n areas
of m+n+str# !h+-h are seen to 4elong to the pastor: su-h as lead+ng Sa44ath
!orsh+p: prepar+ng ne! 4el+e,ers for 4apt+sm: and ,+s+t+ng -hur-h mem4ers;
The -hur-hs pr+or+t+es and programmes tend to refle-t and re,ol,e around
those of the pastor; "hen the pastor +s -hanged: the -hur-hs programme l+6el#
to -hange;
Su-h a mental+t# ma6es +t d+ff+-ult for man# -hur-h mem4ers to feel that the#
ha,e an +mportant part to pla# +n the on-go+ng m+n+str# of the -hur-h;
++; The 'd,ent+st -hur-h stereot#pe; Regardless of the s+He of the -ongregat+on:
-hur-hes are e/pe-ted to operate -erta+n departments: su-h as Commun+t#
Ser,+-es: <outh: Personal 2+n+str+es: and )am+l# 1+fe: through !h+-h -hur-h
mem4ers -an 4e +n,ol,ed +n m+n+str#; Chur-h meet+ngs also tend to 4e s+m+lar
!orld-!+de: Sa44ath S-hools use the same 5+4le stud# mater+als: !orsh+p
ser,+-es follo! a pred+-ta4le outl+ne: e,en pra#er meet+ngs share a -ommon
format; 'll th+s +s as good as far as +t goes: 4ut !+th su-h a stereot#pe +t +s
d+ff+-ult for lo-al -hur-hes to 4u+ld the+r m+n+str+es around the g+fts and a4+l+t+es
of the+r mem4ers and the needs of the -ommun+t#;
+++; The +mportan-e of the Sa44ath; 5e-ause Sa44ath +s so +mportant to us: +t +s
eas# to -on-lude that the most +mportant meet+ngs of the !ee6 are Sa44ath
meet+ngs; Not surpr+s+ngl#: the ma+n -omm+tment la# mem4ers are e/pe-ted to
ma6e +s attendan-e at Sa44ath ser,+-es; 's far as m+n+str# +s -on-erned:
ho!e,er: the fa-t +s that la# people tend to 4e spe-tators: not m+n+sters: at su-h
meet+ngs: ho!e,er +mportant those meet+ngs ma# 4e for other reasons;
+,; The +mportan-e of the -hur-h 4u+ld+ng; ' s+m+lar pro4lem ar+ses from the
+mportan-e !e pla-e on the -hur-h 4u+ld+ng; )or man# -ongregat+ons: the
-hur-h 4u+ld+ng has 4e-ome the -entre of m+n+str#: 4e-ause that +s !here most
programmes and ser,+-es are -ondu-ted; ?a,e !e forgotten that the -hur-h +s
not a 4u+ld+ng nor a programme: 4ut the people of God - !here,er the# are$
"+th l+m+ted t+me to g+,e to the -hur-h: potent+al la# leaders ma# 4e so 4us#
support+ng programmes Dat the -hur-hE that there +s no t+me left for them to
full# de,elop the+r o!n m+n+str#;
Clearl#: !e need to -hange the !a# !e m+n+ster at lo-al -hur-h le,el +f !e are ser+ous
a4out releas+ng the huge m+n+str# potent+al of the la+t#; Introdu-+ng small groups +s
pro4a4l# the 4est !a# of do+ng th+s; "h+le there +s no su4st+tute for the ?ol# Sp+r+t +n
%8
mot+,at+ng and empo!er+ng the -hur-h to do !hat +t does: there +s no su4st+tute for the
-orre-t s#stem e+ther;
Small group m+n+str# +s not =ust an add+t+onal feature to add to the -hur-hs alread#
4us# programme; It represents a parad+gm sh+ft !h+-h -an effe-t+,el# empo!er
mem4ers for m+n+str#: 4e-ause +t:
does not re-ogn+se the un4+4l+-al d+st+n-t+on 4et!een -lerg# and la+t#: 4ut
-reates a pos+t+,e m+n+str# relat+onsh+p 4et!een pastors and mem4ers
has the potent+al for ma6+ng full use of all the g+fts God has g+,en to the
mem4ers of the -hur-h
releases pastors for the+r spe-+al !or6 of tra+n+ng mem4ers for m+n+str#
g+,es ea-h group the freedom to operate a--ord+ng to +ts needs
4alan-es the +mportan-e of the Sa44ath !+th the +mportan-e of the rest of
the !ee6 to the l+fe and health of the -hur-h
repla-es one -entre of m+n+str# Athe -hur-h 4u+ld+ngB !+th man# Athe -hur-h
4u+ld+ng and mem4ers homesB
)or more on th+s su4=e-t: see the se-t+on on the de,elopment of sp+r+tual g+fts through
small groups: +n -hapter four;
c- Small groups complement large groups'
0,er# !ee6: thousands of people ta6e part +n !hat !e m+ght -all the Dfoot4all
e/per+en-e;E Th+s e/per+en-e +s made up of t!o parts: the e/per+en-e !+th the -ro!d at
the mat-h +tself: and the e/per+en-e !+th a small group of fello! supporters 4efore
andLor after the game; One pro,+des e/h+larat+on: e/-+tement: opportun+t# for
-ele4rat+on: and a sense of 4e+ng part of someth+ng 4+g and +mportant; The other
pro,+des for an e/-hange of thoughts and feel+ngs: and ser,es to +nsp+re or -onsole: +n
ant+-+pat+on and refle-t+on of the 4+g e,ent; The t!o e/per+en-es are d+fferent 4ut
-omplementar#; 5oth are +mportant;
Chr+st+ans need large and small gather+ngs too; "e need large gather+ngs for
-ele4rat+on ASa44ath !orsh+p: pu4l+- e,angel+sm: et-;B and small gather+ngs for nurture
and !+tness through a more personal shar+ng of our l+,es !+th one another Anot s+mpl#
the Sa44ath S-hool -lass: or the spontaneous meet+ng together of fr+ends !ho 6no!
ea-h other !ell and ha,e -erta+n +nterests +n -ommonB;
"hat ta6es pla-e +n small groups +s d+fferent to !hat ta6es pla-e +n large groups;
Stru-tured: formal -ongregat+onal meet+ngs ser,e -erta+n purposes: !h+le less
stru-tured: +nformal gather+ngs ser,e others; ?o!e,er e/-ellent the -ongregat+onal
e,ents m+ght 4e: +f a -ongregat+on has no organ+sed: +ntent+onal and +n-lus+,e small
group net!or6: +t -annot mo,e for!ard +n sp+r+tual andLor numer+-al gro!th as +t
!ould +f +t had that net!or6; In fa-t +t m+ght !ell resem4le a ro!+ng 4oat !+th one oar
+nstead of t!o: !h+-h goes round +n -+r-les more eas+l# than for!ard +n a stra+ght l+neF
Its hard to ma6e progress +n -erta+n areas !+thout some 6+nd of small group m+n+str#;
'n e/ample of ho! small groups -ould help us +n a pra-t+-al !a# +s the !a# !e
-ele4rate the Sa44ath; In S-r+pture the Sa44ath +s asso-+ated !+th rest; <et for man#
'd,ent+sts: the Sa44ath +s one of the 4us+est da#s of the !ee6; In some -hur-hes the
Sa44ath +s f+lled !+th a-t+,+t# from 4eg+nn+ng to end: and rest does not feature at all;
%9
'nd th+n6 ho! !e use the !orsh+p hour: somet+mes !e use +t for an#th+ng 4ut
!orsh+p: and people go home !+thout an a!areness of ha,+ng 4een +n the presen-e of
God;
The fa-t +s !e are tr#+ng to do +n a -ongregat+onal sett+ng !hat !e -ould do mu-h
4etter +n a small group sett+ng; 'nd +n the pro-ess: !e pro4a4l# end up not do+ng
an#th+ng ,er# !ell; So th+n6 !hat a d+fferen-e small groups !ould ma6e: e,en to the
Sa44athF
The -ele4rat+on of the Sa44ath !ould 4e more fo-used' Small groups -an -arr# the
ma+n 4urden of nurtur+ng: tea-h+ng: d+s-+pl+ng: !+tness+ng: 4u+ld+ng relat+onsh+ps:
et-;: lea,+ng the !orsh+p hour free to -on-entrate on -ele4rat+ng and +nsp+r+ng;
5urr+lls des-r+pt+on of the -hur-h alread# >uoted on page . -ould 4e-ome a real+t#;
made up of ne! 4el+e,ers and fr+ends of -hur-h mem4ers; Its l+6e th+s somet+mes +n
some -hur-hes; It -ould 4e l+6e +t all the t+me +n all our -hur-hes - !+th small
groups 4lessed and used 4# God;
1arger -ongregat+ons !ould 4e poss+4le; 2ult+pl#+ng smaller -ongregat+ons ma# st+ll
4e the 4est !a# to go; 5ut t+me has -hanged th+ngs: and most people +n -ountr+es
l+6e Great 5r+ta+n no! l+,e +n large to!ns and -+t+es; There ma# 4e a pla-e +n the
'd,ent+st frame!or6 for mu-h larger -ongregat+ons than !e ha,e 6no!n 4efore
no!; 'nd !here an effe-t+,e small-group net!or6 +s +n pla-e: su-h -ongregat+ons
are poss+4le: and e,en des+ra4le; '--ord+ng to some -hur-h gro!th e/perts: there +s
no ma/+mum l+m+t for the s+He of a -hur-h that +s 4u+lt on small groups; 'part from
an#th+ng else: large small-group -hur-hes do not need a -orrespond+ngl# large pa+d
pastoral staff;
'll th+ngs are poss+4le: +t seems: !hen properl# organ+sed and operated small groups
-omplement a -hur-hs large group m+n+str#; In numer+-al terms: the !orlds largest
-hur-h suggests that the s6# +s the l+m+t !hen +t -omes to the gro!th of small-group
-hur-hes; The <o+do )ull Gospel Chur-h +n Seoul: Jorea has the largest -ongregat+on
+n the !orld !+th o,er 8&&:&&& mem4ers; <et the Pastor: Paul <ongg+ Cho: -la+ms that
h+s -hur-h +s not onl# the largest: 4ut the smallest: 4e-ause from most mem4ers
perspe-t+,e: the+r -hur-h fello!sh+p +s onl# ten to t!ent# +n num4er; 2em4ers meet for
-ele4rat+on and !orsh+p +n huge -ro!ds +n the+r stad+um-l+6e -hur-h 4u+ld+ng: 4ut
dur+ng the !ee6 (&:&&& of them ser,e the -hur-h and are ser,ed 4# +t through ((:&&&
small groups; There +s no sense of lost-ness or anon#m+t# !hen people Dgo to -hur-hE
4e-ause the# 6no! and regularl# e/per+en-e the fa-t that the# 4elong;
%8

The pastor of a large 'mer+-an -ongregat+on puts +t a d+fferent !a#; ?e sa#s D"e -an
onl# 4e a large -hur-h 4e-ause !e 6no! ho! to 4e a small -hur-h;E
%9

The >ual+t# of
%8
Carl ); George: 5repare "our Church for the Cuture AGrand Rap+ds: 2I: )lem+ng ?; Re,el:
D+,+s+on of 5a6er 5oo6 ?ouse:B: 22;
%9
Peter Cotterell: $mall ;roups, Big Results A0ast4ourne: 0ngland: J+ngs!a# Pu4l+-at+ons: %98(B: (;
2&
-ongregat+onal l+fe -an 4e made !hat !e !ould l+6e +t to 4e: through small group
m+n+str#; 'nd !here the >ual+t# +s good: people !+ll 4e attra-ted to +t;
;ne 2mall roup 5akes #hree
/nnette and %ohn
4=
began attending church along with their mother, because a
relative living abroad recommended the /dventist faith to them" It was a difficult
e-perience for them at first" #hey were young ) about eleven and thirteen years of
age; they had never been to church before; they didn1t know anyone; and to make
matters worse, their father didn1t approve" +e believed in od, but was not a
Christian"
2hortly afterwards, their mother was invited to attend a small group meeting a mile
or two from their home" #hey decided to make it a family affair, so /nnette and
%ohn attended as well" /t first they didn1t understand much, but the group was
made up of all ages, and everybody seemed to accept everybody else for what they
were, even if they did prefer to play games and draw pictures sometimes, so they
liked going"
"
#o cut a long and interesting story short, within two years /nnette and %ohn, with
their mother, were baptised and became members of that church" !ike other young
people, they had their struggles with their faith ) and with the church" 0ut here1s
the interesting thing"
>ow, fifteen years later, /nnette and %ohn $both married' and their mother are all
living in different countries" 0ut they each run a small group of their own in their
homes" #hey still think about that first small group and what it meant to them, how
2&
Names and some deta+ls of the stor# ha,e 4een -hanged to prote-t +dent+t# of the -hara-ters
2%
it helped them to find a place in the church" /nd because the small group
e-perience is just as important to them now, they want to share it with others"

Chapter Four
+,"T S!"## G$O%&S )O
22
;o, then, to all peoples e)erywhere, and make them my disciples8 bapti>e them in
the name of the Cather, the $on, and the &oly $pirit, and teach them to obey
e)erything % ha)e commanded you. 60atthew 2D8!E,27 ;NB<
mall groups ma6e d+s-+ples' 't least: that +s the o4=e-t+,e: 4e-ause +t +s !hat
@esus -omm+ss+oned ?+s o!n d+s-+ples to do A2atthe! 28:%9:2&B; ' d+s-+ple: 4#
def+n+t+on: +s a full# -omm+tted follo!er of Chr+st: so !e 4e-ome d+s-+ples from
the da# !e de-+de to follo! @esus: and !e rema+n d+s-+ples throughout our l+,es; 't no
po+nt !+ll !e e,er feel that !e measure up to all that !e 6no! !e ought to 4e: 4ut at
e,er# po+nt !e -an 4e full# -omm+tted to follo!+ng ?+m;
S
D+s-+plesh+p +n-ludes e,er# area of Chr+st+an l+fe: e,er# Chr+st+an d+s-+pl+ne; ' d+s-+ple
+s an apprent+-e: learn+ng from h+s tea-her 4# o4ser,at+on and pra-t+-e; 'nd as part of
our o!n learn+ng and gro!+ng e/per+en-e: !e are -omm+ss+oned to en-ourage others
to =o+n us;
"e must remem4er: ho!e,er: that 4e-om+ng a d+s-+ple of @esus and gro!+ng +n that
relat+onsh+p !+th ?+m +s not >u+te the same th+ng as 4e-om+ng a mem4er of the -hur-h
or l+,+ng as a DgoodE Chr+st+an should: e,en though d+s-+plesh+p ma# lead: sooner or
later: to -hur-h mem4ersh+p; It +s poss+4le to 4el+e,e that the 5+4le +s true: 4e 4apt+sed:
attend -hur-h regularl# and do Dm+ss+onar# !or6:E and not 4e a d+s+ple of @esus; 1ets
4e sure to put f+rst th+ngs f+rst: and 6eep them there; "e need to fo-us on d+s-+plesh+pF
?o! -an !e gro! as d+s-+ples of Chr+st$ 'nd ho! -an !e most effe-t+,el# en-ourage
others to 4e-ome ?+s d+s-+ples$ Small groups -an help us +n a !a# that noth+ng else
-an; "h+le personal pra#er and 5+4le stud# and !ee6end !orsh+p ser,+-es -an help us
to gro!: 4# themsel,es the# are not enough; S+m+larl#: !h+le pu4l+- e,angel+st+-
meet+ngs and one-to-one 5+4le stud+es often lead people to 4e-ome d+s-+ples: 4#
themsel,es the# are not enough; Small groups ha,e a ,+tal role to pla# also +n help+ng
us gro! and lead+ng others to d+s-+plesh+p: s+mpl# 4e-ause of the nature of !hat the#
do; "h+le ea-h small group !+ll ha,e +ts o!n un+>ue +dent+t# and m+ss+on: +f +t operates
as +t should +t !+ll most l+6el# +n-lude all of the follo!+ng:
/ ?isciple is ;ne &ho
walks with od en/oys a personal relationship with -esus and seeks
to keep in step with the &oly $pirit,
studies the &ord of od, constantly growing in understanding and
obedience while endea)ouring to apply its teachings to all areas of life,
and
responds to Christ1s commission, eAuipped with the gifts &e has
gi)en, to make other disciples for &im through a life of witness and
ser)ice in the community.
2.
aB 5+4le stud#
4B Pra#er
-B "orsh+p
dB De,elopment of sp+r+tual g+fts
eB Pastoral -are
fB Nurture
gB "+tness
'll these elements of -hur-h l+fe should 4e happen+ng at a -ongregat+onal le,el alread#:
+f a 4alan-ed m+n+str# of !orsh+p: nurture: fello!sh+p and e,angel+sm +s +n pla-e; Small
groups -an help to +ntrodu-e and ma+nta+n the same Dd+s-+pl+nesE at a more personal
le,el also: as !e shall no! see;
a- Bible stud0 is relational and e.er0one is in.ol.ed in it;
It +s s+gn+f+-ant that !hen $erendipity 5+4le stud# mater+al !as f+rst pu4l+shed A+n the
earl# #ears of the modern small group mo,ementB: one of the pr+n-+pal needs +ts author
+dent+f+ed and sought to address !as the Dneed for appl+ed 5+4l+-al 6no!ledge;E ?e
!rote:
Christians are crying out for help to apply their Christian faith in
an increasingly comple4 world. Fnowing what the Bible says isn,t
enough * people want to know how to translate this knowledge into
action.
2!
Relat+onal 5+4le stud# attempts not onl# to lead the group to a 4etter understand+ng of
the 5+4les message: 4ut to en-ourage e,er# mem4er of the group to relate that
message to the+r personal l+,es +n pra-t+-al and personal !a#s; The group as6s not
onl#: D"hat does the 5+4le sa# a4out th+s su4=e-t$E 4ut D"hat +s God sa#+ng to us
through th+s S-r+pture$E Group mem4ers are en-ouraged to +dent+f# themsel,es !+th
the -hara-ters and stor+es of the 5+4le: re-ogn+s+ng !here the# are and !here the# !ant
to 4e +n terms of the+r l+fes goals;
's has 4een e/pla+ned alread# Apage 9: paragraph N-B small groups are +ntended to
follo! a relat+onal st#le of -ommun+-at+on; Th+s means that the -ontr+4ut+on of ea-h
group mem4er +s regarded as ,al+d and +mportant: not 4e-ause the -ontr+4ut+on ma# 4e
Dr+ghtE or one that others agree !+th: 4ut 4e-ause +t refle-ts !here the group mem4er
+s +n terms of e/per+en-e and understand+ng; Th+s means that a small group -an -ons+st
of Chr+st+ans and non-Chr+st+ans and st+ll gro! +n the+r relat+onsh+ps !+th God and !+th
ea-h other: desp+te the+r d+fferen-es of op+n+on;
"h+le 5+4le stud# +s fundamental to most +f not all small group meet+ngs: su4=e-ts ,ar#
!+del#; Themes for stud# are usuall# -hosen 4# the group: rather than 4# the group
leader: therefore tend to 4e rele,ant to the needs and +nterests of group mem4ers;
5+4le stud# +s not l+m+ted to do-tr+ne: 4ut +n-ludes a !+de range of su4=e-ts relat+ng to
da+l# l+fe Ae;g; parent+ng: self-esteem: et-;B: Chr+st+an gro!th Ae;g; -op+ng !+th
d+s-ouragement: assuran-e +n Chr+st: et-B: and top+-s of -urrent +nterest Ae;g; a4ort+on:
!orld e,ents: et-B; ' !+de range of pre-prepared 5+4le stud# mater+als for small
2%
1#man Coleman: $erendipity 1eaders, ;uide A1ondon: S-r+pture Un+on: %98(B: (
2*
groups -an 4e o4ta+ned from Chr+st+an 4oo6-shops: and man# ne! mater+als are 4e+ng
pu4l+shed ea-h #ear;
22
"hen !e stud# the 5+4le +n th+s !a# - relat+ng our l+,es to S-r+pture and ea-h other:
t!o th+ngs are l+6el# to happen:
a sense of a--ounta4+l+t# 4et!een Chr+st+ans de,elops: -halleng+ng us to
gro! +n our d+s-+plesh+p: and
Chr+st+an+t# 4e-omes real: personal and rele,ant: en-ourag+ng others !ho
are present to 4e-ome d+s-+ples;
b- &ra0er is natural spontaneous and personal'
S+n-e small groups are part of Gods plan for ?+s -hur-h: +t +s onl# natural that Gods
gu+dan-e !+ll 4e sought through pra#er !h+le the# are 4e+ng organ+sed: !h+le a+ms and
goals are 4e+ng formulated: and !h+le fr+ends are 4e+ng +n,+ted to =o+n; 5ut the role of
pra#er +n small group m+n+str# goes mu-h further than th+s;
Informal pra#er -an ma6e an enormous -ontr+4ut+on to the sense of -ommun+t# !h+-h
small groups a+m to -reate; It !as to small: -ar+ng: Chr+st+an -ommun+t+es: that @ohn
-ounselled 4el+e,ers to D-onfess #our s+ns to ea-h other and pra# for ea-h other so that
#ou ma# 4e healed;E AI @ohn (:%B Pra#er -an also 4e a po!erful form of !+tness; )rom
h+s pr+son -ell: D+etr+-h 5onhoeffer th+s dual fun-t+on of pra#er !hen he !rote of the
Chr+st+an fello!sh+p he en=o#ed e,en !h+le +n pr+son:
%ntercession is the most promising way to meet our neighbours, and
corporate prayer, offered in the name of Christ, the purest form of
fellowship.
2?
In some -ases a separate pra#er t+me ma# not 4e +n-luded +n earl# group meet+ngs; )or
e/ample: groups !ho a+m to rea-h se-ularLun-hur-hed people !+ll need to re-ogn+se
that +n the earl# stages of the group: pra#er ma# -ause em4arrassment to the+r guests;
In su-h -ases: a short and s+mple pra#er m+ght offered 4# !a# of response dur+ng the
5+4le stud#: or +n response to a need ment+oned 4# a mem4er of the group; 'nd of
-ourse: the -ore group mem4ers !+ll spend mu-h t+me +n pra#er for the group outs+de
of group meet+ngs;
2em4ers of a small group >u+-6l# get to 6no! ea-h other: ho!e,er: and regardless of
the+r 4a-6ground: !+ll soon 4e -omforta4le !+th group pra#er as a natural part of ea-h
meet+ng; It +s +mportant that the form of pra#er f+ts the +nformal st#le of small group
meet+ngs; Pra#er should 4e the outflo! of the shar+ng that ta6es pla-e 4efore and
dur+ng 5+4le stud#: and !+ll -ons+st of than6sg+,+ng and +nter-ess+on !h+-h +s -losel#
related to the e/per+en-es and needs of group mem4ers and the+r -+r-le of
a->ua+ntan-es;
There +s no set t+me: pla-e or st#le for pra#er +n small groups; Pra#er ma# !ell 4e
offered at the -ommen-ement of the 5+4le stud#: and a t+me !+ll usuall# 4e g+,en to
22
' sample l+st of mater+als a,a+la4le -an 4e o4ta+ned from the Department of Personal 2+n+str+es:
2(: St; @ohns Road: "atford: ?erts: "D% %P<;
2.
D+etr+-h 5onhoeffer: The Cost of 3iscipleship, ASC2 PressB: >uoted +n 2all+son: The $mall ;roup
1eader: %.;
2(
group pra#er after the 5+4le stud#: 4ut there +s no reason !h# pra#er ma# not DhappenE
dur+ng the stud# +f there +s spe-+al need for gu+dan-e or than6sg+,+ng;
The appointment of a pra0er leader +s a good !a# of ensur+ng that proper attent+on
+s g+,en to the de,elopment of the pra#er l+fe of a group; The pra#er leaders
respons+4+l+t# +s to 4e a!are of the needs of the group: 6eep a re-ord of pra#ers
ans!ered: and organ+se the per+ods ded+-ated to pra#er; The ass+stant group leader: the
hostLhostess: or a d+fferent person -an ser,e +n th+s role; "ho does +t +s not +mportant;
?o! +t +s done: +s; It +s the natural: spontaneous: and personal nature of small-group
pra#er !h+-h: l+6e the relat+onal nature of small-group 5+4le stud#: helps Chr+st+an
d+s-+ples gro!: and +nsp+res others to =o+n them;
c- +orship is meaningful to indi.iduals and the group
In a general sense: !orsh+p - respond+ng to God +n !a#s that 4r+ng ?+m honour -
+n,ol,es e,er#th+ng !e do: from shar+ng our fa+th to sho!+ng pra-t+-al 6+ndness to
l+,+ng a Chr+st-l+6e l+fe; Th+s +s the f+rst and greatest -ommandment A2atthe!
22:.3:.8B 'nd small groups: !h+-h are all a4out Chr+st+an+t# +n e,er#da# l+fe: -an
de,elop th+s -on-ept; 0a-h small group meet+ng +s an a-t !orsh+p +tself;
In another sense: ho!e,er: !orsh+p +s the a-t of ador+ng God !+th our heart: soul:
m+nd and strength: fo-us+ng on ?+s goodness and greatness to the e/-lus+on of
e,er#th+ng else; Small group meet+ngs therefore often set t+me as+de for fo-us+ng on
?+m through pra#er: and through s+ng+ng !here that +s appropr+ate; The 4est !orsh+p
songs -hosen are those that are sung to God and fo-us on ?+m: rather than those that
are =ust a4out ?+m: and those that fo-us on our e/per+en-e of ?+m;
In -ongregat+onal !orsh+p: the form +t ta6es +s determ+ned 4# !orsh+p -omm+ttees:
pastors or spea6ers: the s+He and trad+t+ons of the -hur-h: and other -ons+derat+ons; It +s
stru-tured: and does not ,ar# mu-h from !ee6 to !ee6; There +s l+ttle or no
opportun+t# for spontaneous response to God as ?e ma6es ?+s presen-e felt to
+nd+,+duals or the -ongregat+on as a !hole; In su-h !orsh+p: God +s honoured 4# good
plann+ng and e/tens+,e preparat+on of a programme that ena4les a large num4er of
people to fo-us on ?+s goodness and greatness and respond together; "e need
-ongregat+onal !orsh+p; Noth+ng -an ta6e +ts pla-e;
?o!e,er: God +s also honoured and people are 4lessed as !orsh+p +f offered to ?+m +n
smaller groups; Small group !orsh+p: +n -ontrast to -ongregat+onal !orsh+p: +s more
personal and +nt+mate; It -an 4e planned: 4ut plans ma# -hange as +nd+,+duals or the
group as a !hole respond to the !a#s +n !h+-h God ma6es ?+mself 6no!n through the
5+4le stud#: the pra#ers: or s+mpl# the +ntera-t+on of the group as the# share
e/per+en-es and thoughts !+th ea-h other; "h+le -ongregat+onal !orsh+p +s usuall# a
response to a sense of Gods trans-enden-e and ma=est# ADGod most h+ghEB: small
group !orsh+p +s more l+6el# to 4e a response to a sense of Gods +mmanen-e and
oneness !+th us ADGod most n+ghEB; @ust as !e need to 4e a!ed 4# ?+s splendour: so
!e need to feel the more gentle tou-h of ?+s hand +n our l+,es;
)or people !ho are t+red: d+stressed and d+sor+ented from the stress of the !or6+ng
da#: noth+ng -an pro,+de refreshment and 4r+ng l+fe 4a-6 +nto proper perspe-t+,e: 4etter
than !orsh+pp+ng God +n the sett+ng of a small and -ar+ng small group;
d- Spiritual gifts are readil0 identified de.eloped and used'
2
"e ha,e alread# l+sted se,eral reasons !h# small groups: as the 4as+- stru-tural un+t of
the -hur-h: -an empo!er mem4ers for m+n+str# more effe-t+,el# than the trad+t+onal
stru-ture;
2*
?ere !e -ons+der an add+t+onal reason - the !a# the# help to +dent+f# and
de,elop sp+r+tual g+fts;
Desp+te the attent+on that has 4een g+,en to the su4=e-t of sp+r+tual g+fts +n re-ent #ears
through 4oo6s: !or6shops: and Sa44ath S-hool lesson stud+es: man# -hur-h mem4ers
st+ll do not 6no! !hat the+r g+fts are: or the# do not feel that the+r g+fts are 4e+ng
suff+-+entl# de,eloped and used;
2(
In small group -hur-hes: ho!e,er: th+s +s less l+6el#
to 4e a pro4lem: 4e-ause
Through the relat+onal d#nam+-s of small groups: mem4ers 4e-ome a!are of ea-h
others needs and respond to those needs; G+fts of en-ouragement: fa+th: pra#er:
leadersh+p: et-;: naturall# man+fest themsel,es; 2em4ers 4e-ome +n,ol,ed +n -ar+ng
for ea-h other dur+ng and outs+de of group meet+ngs; It +s d+ff+-ult for an#one to
h+de or rema+n anon#mous +n a small group;
0,en +f +nd+,+duals do not re-ogn+se the+r o!n g+fts: the# -an re-ogn+se ea-h others
g+fts and aff+rm them; 's mem4ers part+-+pate +n 5+4le stud#: and support and
-hallenge one another: the# -an and should e/press appre-+at+on for the !a# +n
!h+-h God tou-hes the+r l+,es through the+r fello!sh+p; "e help others to fo-us on
the de,elopment of the+r g+fts !hen !e sa#: DGod used #ou !hen #ouO;LI !as
reall# 4lessed !hen #ouO; I th+n6 #ou ha,e a spe-+al g+ft +n that area;E
Sens+t+,e group leaders -an o4ser,e ho! ea-h +nd+,+dual -ontr+4utes to the l+fe of
the group and +dent+f# the+r g+fts and a4+l+t+es: then use those g+fts and delegate
respons+4+l+t+es a--ord+ngl#;
The de,elopment of g+fts +s not l+m+ted to the a,a+la4+l+t# of a su+ta4le -hur-h
department for -hur-h mem4ers to !or6 through; The fle/+4+l+t# of small groups
allo!s ea-h group to de,elop a m+n+str# st#le and form a--ord+ng to the needs and
g+fts of +ts mem4ers;
God tou-hes peoplePs l+,es through people: 4# us+ng the g+fts ?e has g+,en them; 's
those g+fts are +dent+f+ed and de,eloped through small group m+n+str#: !e -an e/pe-t
that the d+s-+ples of @esus !+ll gro! more l+6e ?+m: and the# !+ll gro! +n num4er;
#eadership +s one e/ample of an a4+l+t#Lg+ft !h+-h -an 4e more full# de,eloped and
ut+l+sed through small groups; "hen 2oses loo6ed for leaders for the ,ast small group
net!or6 des-r+4ed +n 0/odus %8: he found them among the mult+tude of former sla,es
!ho follo!ed h+m; 2a#4e man# of these leaders had alread# ser,ed as o,erseers and
foremen dur+ng the per+od of 4ondage +n 0g#pt; 5ut the fa-t rema+ns that at least one
out of e,er# ten of those l+4erated Israel+tes !as a potent+al sp+r+tual leader;
Ne! Testament models of small groups suggest that th+s le,el of leadersh+p potent+al
+n the -hur-h +s -onstant; @esus o!n small group !as t!el,e +n num4er: and the home
-hur-hes referred to +n the 4oo6 of '-ts -ould not ha,e 4een mu-h d+fferent +n s+He -
2*
See -hapter t!o: su4-se-t+on b-
2(
See footnote for su4-se-t+on b- of -hapter t!o;
23
the a,erage @e!+sh house +n @erusalem +n (& ';D; !ould not ha,e a--ommodated
man# more than a doHen people;
If roughl# one out of e,er# ten Se,enth-da# 'd,ent+sts +s a potent+al leader: !e m+ght
!ell as6: D"hat opportun+t+es for leadersh+p does our present leadersh+p s#stem offer
for g+fted la# people$E The respons+4+l+t+es g+,en to lo-al elders: dea-ons: and
departmental leaders: as !e presentl# def+ne them: hardl# -ompare !+th those l+sted for
-hur-h leaders +n the Ne! Testament; In apostol+- t+mes: la# people - tra+ned and
o,erseen 4# pastors - -arr+ed full respons+4+l+t# for the+r o!n house -hur-hes; "e need
small groups to allo! the man# leadersh+p g+fts among us to de,elop and 4e put to full
use;
e- &astoral care is shared' It +s no! !ell re-ogn+sed that small-group -hur-hes ha,e a
lo!er le,el of pastoral -are need than -hur-hes !h+-h operate on more trad+t+onal
l+nes; Th+s +s s+mpl# 4e-ause small groups pro,+de !arm fello!sh+p: a strong sense of
4elong+ng: regular 5+4le stud# and group pra#er support for the+r mem4ers;

Se,eral #ears ago: a sur,e#
2

of ,ar+ous Se,enth-da# 'd,ent+st
-hur-hes as6ed mem4ers to +nd+-ate on a d+agram of three
-on-entr+- -+r-les Arepresent+ng the -hur-hB !here the# sa! them-
sel,es; The sur,e# re,ealed that +n 4oth large and small -ongrega-
t+ons: the ma=or+t# of -hur-h mem4ers d+d not feel part of the
D+nner -+r-le;E Instead: the# sa! themsel,es +n the outer -+r-le
of -hur-h l+fe: as +f the+r attendan-e or non-attendan-e made l+ttle
d+fferen-e: +f an#: to the -hur-h as a !hole; On a,erage onl# ten to f+fteen per-ent
pla-ed a mar6 !+th+n the +nner -+r-le: +nd+-at+ng that the# felt -lose to the heart of the
-hur-h: and an +mportant part of +ts l+fe;
Th+s sense of Dnot 4elong+ngE and +solat+on from the -hur-h 4od# e/per+en-ed 4# so
man# Chr+st+ans +s rare among those !ho 4elong to a small group; It +s a pro4lem that
+s pre,ented 4efore +t needs to 4e -ured;
Small groups not onl# ser,e to pre,ent -erta+n needs ar+s+ng: ho!e,er: the# also meet
man# needs !h+-h do ar+se; "+th+n the safet# of a -ar+ng small group: +t +s >u+te natural
to share -erta+n 4urdens !h+-h !e !ould normall# 4e relu-tant to shareC and +t +s >u+te
natural for the group to respond; I ha,e often seen real pastoral -are at !or6 as a
group leader +nterrupts a 5+4le stud# or pra#er sess+on: to g+,e attent+on to a need that
has 4een e/pressed: and ta6e t+me to g+,e -ounsel: support: en-ouragement: or spe-+al
pra#er; Genu+ne sp+r+tual and emot+onal heal+ng and rene!al -an result from th+s 6+nd
of m+n+str#;
5e-ause -ommun+-at+on +n small groups tends to 4e ,er# honest and open: dou4ts and
>uest+ons of fa+th -an also 4e e/pressed freel#; 'nd +t -omes as a pleasant surpr+se to
d+s-o,er: as the group responds: that su-h th+ngs are -ommon - e,en to mature
'd,ent+stsF Th+s - and the personal test+mon# that often follo!s - +s a far more
po!erful and effe-t+,e therap# than that !h+-h results from a te/t4oo6 D-hapter and
,erseE approa-h; "hen t!o or three group mem4ers adm+t: This is how % felt * this is
2
See sample of the sur,e# form +n 'ppend+/ 5; Remem4er that responses to th+s >uest+on !ere not
ne-essar+l# 4ased on mem4ers rolesL=o4 des-r+pt+ons: 4ut on the+r per-ept+on of the+r relat+onsh+p !+th
the rest of the -hur-h 4od#;
28
how -esus helped me through * and &e will help you too, ho! -an the fa+th of the
rest not 4e strengthenedF
' more spe-+f+- form of pastoral -are +s pro,+ded 4# those small groups !h+-h are
organ+sed to 4r+ng together people !+th s+m+lar needs: for mutual understand+ng and
support; 0/amples m+ght +n-lude groups for mothers !+th #oung -h+ldren at s-hool:
d+,or-ees: un+,ers+t# students: ret+rees: et-; ASome larger -hur-hes !+th tra+ned
mem4ers run re-o,er# groups for al-ohol+-s: d+,or-ees: et-;B
The larger the -hur-h: the greater the need for the pastoral -are !h+-h small groups
-an pro,+de so effe-t+,el#; "h+le -hur-hes -an ant+-+pate a ,ar+et# of 4less+ngs to result
from the+r m+n+str#: here are t!o spe-+f+- 4enef+ts !e -an e/pe-t:
+; )e!er people !+ll lea,e the -hur-h; Those !ho lea,e the -hur-h 4# the 4a-6 door -
espe-+all# the #oung -; are not ne-essar+l# turn+ng the+r 4a-6s on God; "hat !e -all
apostas# +s often more l+6el# to 4e a matter of people fa+l+ng to f+nd en-ouragement and
support !hen the# are go+ng through a -r+s+s; If the# f+nd the support the# need: the#
!+ll sta#;
++; Pastors !+ll 4e a4le to spe-+al+se; The 5+4l+-al role of the pastor +s that of
tea-herLtra+ner: 6preparing< ;od,s people for works of ser)ice, so that the body of
Christ may be built up. . . A0phes+ans *:%%:%2B; Pastors of small group -hur-hes !+ll
naturall# -ont+nue to 4e +n,ol,ed +n a -erta+n amount of pastoral -are: 4ut the# !+ll 4e
a4le to g+,e pr+or+t# to de,elop+ng the g+fts and s6+lls !h+-h the ?ol# Sp+r+t has g+,en
to the mem4ers of the -hur-h; The result !+ll 4e -ongregat+ons fun-t+on+ng =ust as
S-r+pture sa#s the# should - as a 4od# !+th e,er# part do+ng !hat +t +s supposed to do;
23
f- Nurture takes place at different le.els in different groups' The d+-t+onar#
def+nes nurture as D4r+ng+ng up: foster+ng: nour+shment;E Chr+st+an nurture +s the
pro-ess of gro!+ng +n Chr+stl+6eness and usefulness +n ?+s ser,+-e: and that pro-ess
-ont+nues throughout our l+,es;
Dale Gallo!a#: pastor of 'mer+-as largest small-group -hur-h A+t gre! from a s+ngle
small group +n h+s o!n home: to a mem4ersh+p of o,er (:&&& +n less than t!ent#-f+,e
#earsB -ame to the follo!+ng -on-lus+on:
% belie)e that people grow at least eight times faster when they,re in a small
group and attending weekly worship ser)ices....than if they /ust attended the
ser)ice itself.
2D
's Paul po+nted out to T+moth#: the S-r+ptures pla# an +mportant part +n th+s pro-ess:
4e-ause the# are Duseful for tea-h+ng the truth: re4u6+ng error: -orre-t+ng faults: and
g+,+ng +nstru-t+on for r+ght l+,+ng: so that the person !ho ser,es God ma# 4e full#
>ual+f+ed and e>u+pped to do e,er# 6+nd of good deed;E AII T+moth# .:%:%3 GN5B
?o!e,er: no Chr+st+an !+ll mature s+mpl# 4# l+,+ng alone and read+ng the 5+4le;
Jno!ledge m+ght +n-rease that !a#: 4ut !+sdom and gra-e -an onl# gro! +n the real
!orld of relat+onsh+ps !+th other people; '--ord+ng to Peter: Chr+st+an matur+t# +s
demonstrated 4# brotherly affection and lo)e A2 Peter %:3B: and that +s d+ff+-ult to
23
Romans *:*-8C I Cor+nth+ans %2:%2-.&C 0phes+ans *:%
28
Dale Gallo!a#: The $mall ;roup Book AGrand Rap+ds: 2I: )lem+ng ?; Re,ell: D+,+s+on of 5a6er
5oo6 ?ouse Co;: %99(B: 9;
29
e/press e+ther +n sol+tude or +n a -ro!d; Thats !h# Chr+st+ans reall# gro! !hen the#
get +n,ol,ed !+th small groups; It +s +n small groups that the S-r+ptures are taught:
modelled: and appl+ed to real-l+fe s+tuat+ons and relat+onsh+ps;
5e-ause small groups are fle/+4le: d+fferent groups -an 4e organ+sed for people at
d+fferent stages of the+r Chr+st+an =ourne#: us+ng 5+4le stud# mater+als 4est su+ted to
the+r age and e/per+en-e;
" nurture group +s a spe-+al 6+nd of small group for ne! Chr+st+ans +n !h+-h more
emphas+s +s g+,en to nurture than +n other groups; Its fun-t+on +s
to pro.ide opportun+t# for ne! 4el+e,ers to ma6e fr+ends !+th other Chr+st+ans
and feel a part of the -ongregat+on
to identif0 g+fts and +nterests as >u+-6l# as poss+4le and help them f+nd a role +n
the l+fe of the -hur-h
to ensure that sp+r+tual foundat+ons are properl# la+d A+t ta6es more than one
sermon or 5+4le stud# for a ne! Chr+st+an to understand !hat sal,at+on +s all
a4out and de,elop a genu+ne sense of assuran-e +n h+s e/per+en-e !+th Chr+st;B
to encourage da+l# personal 5+4le stud# and pra#er
to de.elop -onf+den-e +n 4eg+nn+ng to pra# !+th other Chr+st+ans
to enable group mem4ers to 4eg+n to share the+r fa+th
The +mportan-e of th+s 6+nd of +ntent+onal nurture of ne! 4el+e,ers that l+n6s them !+th
other 4el+e,ers through fr+endsh+p: +s +llustrated 4# the sur,e# -ondu-ted 4# "+n 'rn of
the Inst+tute of Chur-h Gro!th: Pasedena: Cal+forn+a: a fe! #ear ago among %&& ne!
-on,erts; 't the t+me of the sur,e#: (& -on,erts !ere a-t+,e +n the+r -hur-h: !h+le the
other (& had stopped attend+ng; The follo!+ng d+agram
29
sho!s the -lear -onne-t+on
4et!een -omm+tment to -hur-h: and fr+endsh+ps formed dur+ng the f+rst s+/ months of
-hur-h attendan-e:
Num4er of Ne! )r+ends
+n the Chur-h
& % 2 . * ( 3 8 9Q
'-t+,es & & & % 2 2 8 %. %2 %2
Drops-outs 8 %. %* 8 * 2 % & & &
In the group of (& a-t+,e mem4ers: none made less than three fr+ends: !h+le most made
se,en or more; In the group of (& +na-t+,e mem4ers: onl# one made more than f+,e
fr+ends: !h+le most made one: t!o - or none; The result$ The# dropped outF 'nd that
g+,es us one more reason for de,elop+ng small groups - espe-+all# nurture groups - +n
our -hur-hes;

g- +itness takes place informall0; "e are told that the earl# -hur-h en=o#ed Dthe
fa,our of all the people;E A'-ts 2:*3 NIIB 0,+dentl# someth+ng !as happen+ng +n the
29
"+n 'rn: Charles 'rn and Carol N#>u+st: 'ho Cares +bout 1o)e( APasadena: C': Chur-h gro!th
Press: %98B: %8&: >uoted +n Jurt @ohnson: $mall ;roup Outreach, .;
.&
-hur-h that !as attra-t+,e to outs+ders; People sa! that th+s -ommun+t# !as d+fferent;
The# sa! that Chr+st+ans lo,ed God: lo,ed ea-h other: and lo,ed them; Th+s led them
to 4e-ome Chr+st+ans: =ust as Chr+st had prom+sed; A@ohn %.:.(B
DSee6ersE toda# !ho 6no! l+ttle a4out Chr+st+an+t# also need the opportun+t# to see
Chr+st+an lo,e +n a-t+on; 'nd !here 4etter -an the# see +t than +n a small group as
mem4ers of the group +ntera-t !+th ea-h other and share e/per+en-es !+th one another;
"hen Chr+st+ans -an spea6 +n a rela/ed and natural !a# of ho! @esus affe-ts the+r
e,er#da# l+,es: un-hur-hed fr+ends -an see that Chr+st+an+t# +s ,er# mu-h al+,e;
)r+endsh+p 4et!een Chr+st+ans and non-Chr+st+ans -an also de,elop naturall# +n small
groups; Su-h fr+endsh+p +s +mportant to the d+s-+pl+ng pro-ess: not =ust after
-on,ers+on: 4ut 4eforeF "e 6no! that most people !ho =o+n the 'd,ent+st -hur-h do
so not onl# 4e-ause the# agree !+th 'd,ent+st tea-h+ngs: 4ut 4e-ause of fr+endsh+p !+th
an 'd,ent+st - !hether -hur-h mem4er: the pastor or the pu4l+- e,angel+st; ' sur,e#
.&

pu4l+shed re-entl# !h+-h reported that 3&M of all Chr+st+an -on,erts 4eg+n the+r
=ourne# to fa+th through fr+endsh+p: suggests that far more emphas+s should 4e g+,en to
promot+ng and de,elop+ng fr+endsh+p e,angel+sm +n future; 1ets do +t;

's 'd,ent+sts: our a+m should not 4e s+mpl# to lead people to 4e-ome mem4ers of the
-hur-h through 4apt+sm and profess+on of fa+th; "ere a fam+l#: remem4er$ 'nd
fam+l+es are 4u+lt on relat+onsh+ps; It has 4een sa+d that +n order for us to 4e more
su--essful +n lead+ng others to 4e-ome part of the fam+l#: !e should re-ogn+se the need
to de,elop relat+onsh+ps !+th them +n three separate stages: not one;
The first stage +s to ma6e ne! fr+ends: !+th no rel+g+ous str+ngs atta-hed
The second stage +s to de,elop those fr+endsh+ps +nto Chr+st+an fr+endsh+ps as
@esus 4e-omes the+r 1ord and Sa,+our as !ell as ours

The third stage +s to de,elop those Chr+st+an fr+endsh+ps +nto 'd,ent+st
fr+endsh+ps as !e +n,+te the to 4e-ome part of our -hur-h fam+l#
Small groups ma6e +t poss+4le for th+s progress+,e de,elopment of fr+endsh+p to ta6e
pla-e naturall#; The# also ma6e +t poss+4le for e,er# d+s-+ple: ho!e,er +ne/per+en-ed:
to 4e +n,ol,ed +n help+ng others to 4e-ome d+s-+ples;
.&
Chr+st+an S-h!arH: D1o,+ng Relat+onsh+ps:E Church ;rowth 3igest A5r+t+sh Chur-h Gro!th
'sso-+at+on8 Spr+ng %993B: %&:%%;
.%
2ore on the su4=e-t of !+tness and e,angel+sm +n part s+/;
In Conclusion="h# are small groups so +mportant to the -hur-h$ S+mpl# 4e-ause of
!hat the# produ-e;

Small groups produ-e d+s-+ples !ho lead: d+s-+ples !ho !or6:
d+s-+ples !ho -ontr+4ute to the 6+ngdom of God: d+s-+ples !ho rea-h the lost: d+s-+ples
!ho nurture one another: and d+s-+ples !ho: !h+le the# are do+ng these th+ngs: a-tuall#
en=o# themsel,esF
/ !oad !ifted after #wenty 8ears
+h0 Small Groups !ake +itness
Easier
%; The# en-ourage team!or6
2; The# offer a 4r+dge for sh# people
.; The# are personal
*; The# en-ourage ma/+mum part+-+pat+on
(; The# are fle/+4le
; ' m+n+mum of organ+sat+on +s needed
3; Groups meet !here people l+,e
8; "+tness +s spontaneous
9; The# are +nformal
%&; Commun+-at+on +s eas+er
.2
2arai
(3
was a medical doctor, and the mother of two young children"
#he /dventist pastor in the area was contacted one day by 2arai1s brother, who was
a member of the church in another town ) would he call on her when it was
convenient and invite her to church: +e did, she accepted the invitation, and
began attending church regularly"
/t about that time, the church was trying to start a small group ministry, and 2arai
began meeting with a number of others for fellowship, 0ible study and prayer" 2he
enjoyed the 0ible study ) but what touched her life most was the way in which the
other members of the group spoke so openly of their e-periences" It was a very safe
place to be" @eople could be themselves, and as they shared their needs and
an-ieties with one another $as well as their joys', they received encouragement and
strength from the love and prayers of the rest of the group" It was almost as if od
+imself was touching them as they met together"
;ne 5onday evening, 2arai went to the meeting with a burden on her heart" 2he
had no intention of mentioning her troubles to anyone, but as the group studied
and discussed the 0ible together, she began to see herself in the 0ible story" 2he
began to share what was on her heart" It was something she had carried around
with her for twenty years ) she had never been able to speak about it with anyone,
not even her husband, for he wasn1t a Christian, and wouldn1t understand"
Aven as she spoke, her heart became lighter" 2he could not stop the tears of relief"
#hanks to what happened that evening, she was able to put the past behind her,
and begin a new chapter of her life"
/ few months later, she was baptised"
Chapter Five
S!"## G$O%& )1N"!ICS
%nstead, speaking the truth in lo)e, we will in all things grow up into &im
who is the &ead, that is, Christ. 6.phesians 98!: N%#<
.%
Names and some deta+ls of th+s stor# ha,e 4een -hanged to prote-t the +dent+t# of the -hara-ters;
..
!
arning2 small groups are li.ing cells - handle /ith care> 1+,+ng th+ngs -an onl#
gro! and thr+,e +n an atmosphere of tender lo,+ng -are Asome -hur-hes -all the+r small
groups T1C groups for th+s reasonB; It follo!s that small groups -annot 4e +ntrodu-ed
to a -ongregat+on 4# a de-ree of the -hur-h 4oard; Chur-h mem4ers are not o4l+ged to
4elong to one; 0,er# group -annot 4e e/pe-ted to -onform to a s+ngle model; There +s
no pla-e for for-e +n small group m+n+str#;
It +s not onl# !hat small groups do 4ut ho! the# do +t that +s +mportant; "e ha,e
alread# esta4l+shed that small groups -an do !hat large groups -annot do; 5ut the#
su--eed +n !hat the# do not =ust 4e-ause the# are small: and not =ust 4e-ause of the
st#le or me-han+-s of ho! the# operate: 4ut 4e-ause the# are go,erned 4# -erta+n T1C
Atender lo,+ng -areB pr+n-+ples;
?e0 Small Group @alues
"here,er people relate !+th ea-h other - at home: -ollege: !or6pla-e or -hur-h - the+r
relat+onsh+ps are go,erned 4# -erta+n ,alues; @ust as the rules of a game determ+ne ho!
the game should 4e pla#ed: these ,alues determ+ne !hether the relat+onsh+p 4et!een
emplo#er and emplo#ees +s formal or +nformal: !hether the atmosphere at home +s
-ar+ng or un-ar+ng: !hether a -hur-h +s fr+endl# or unfr+endl#: and !hether small
groups en-ourage or st+fle sp+r+tual gro!th;
Small group ,alues are the Drules of the gameE - the operat+onal pr+n-+ples !h+-h the
group -ons+ders +mportant: and !+th !h+-h all group mem4ers are +n agreement; The
follo!+ng ,alues
.2

are essent+al for those groups !h+-h are -omm+tted to gro!+ng +n
+nterpersonal relat+onsh+ps: matur+t# +n Chr+st: and shar+ng !hat the# ha,e !+th others:
3' "ffirmation; Small group meet+ngs re>u+re open and honest d+s-uss+on and
part+-+pat+on 4# all group mem4ers +n order to 4e effe-t+,e; Su-h part+-+pat+on !+ll onl#
ta6e pla-e: ho!e,er: +f e,er#one +s made to feel that the# are ,alued and appre-+ated as
mem4ers of the group: and that the+r +deas: op+n+ons and >uest+ons are ,al+d and
+mportant;
"e all ha,e a 4as+- need to share someth+ng of oursel,es !+th ea-h other: for +t +s onl#
+n th+s !a# that a sense of -ommun+t# - that ,+tal a!areness that !e need ea-h other -
+s de,eloped; Unfortunatel#: 4e-ause of our fears and +nh+4+t+ons and toda#s fo-us on
+ndependen-e and +nd+,+dual+t#: su-h shar+ng seldom ta6es pla-e on a mean+ngful le,el
+n so-+et#; 5ut +n Chr+st+an small groups +t -an and !+ll ta6e pla-e +f !e are -omm+tted
to en-ourag+ng one another and gro!+ng together +n Chr+st; Th+s en-ouragement
-omes largel# through aff+rmat+on; "e !ant to 4u+ld health# self-esteem +n one
another;

'ff+rmat+on +s the oppos+te of den+al; "e den# people !hen !e +gnore them and treat
them as +f the# d+d not e/+st: and the+r !ords and a-t+ons as +f the# had no ,alue; So !e
aff+rm people 4# treat+ng them !+th respe-t: lett+ng them 6no! that the# are +mportant
to us: and e/press+ng appre-+at+on for the+r !ords and a-t+ons; 'ff+rm+ng people does
not mean that !e agree !+th the+r op+n+ons or appro,e of the+r l+fest#le; 'ff+rmat+on
does not pre,ent de4ate or e,en -onfl+-t; 5ut !hen strong d+sagreements do ar+se: +t
.2
The ,alues that follo! are 4ased on the l+st suggested +n 5+ll Donahue: 1eading 1ife*Changing
$mall ;roups, 88:89; 0/planat+ons 4# the author of th+s manual;
.*
ensures that the host+l+t# and antagon+sm that often a--ompan+es a t#p+-al !+nLlose
-on-lus+on +s not so l+6el# to ar+se;
Small group mem4ers -an aff+rm ea-h other s+mpl# 4# sa#+ng: DIm so glad #ou are
here:E or DThan6s for that +ns+ght:E or DThats +nterest+ng; ?o! d+d #ou -ome to that
-on-lus+on$E Conta-t 4et!een mem4ers 4# phone and personal ,+s+t +s also +mportant;
Group leaders espe-+all# should let a4sent mem4ers 6no! that the# are m+ssed: and
that spe-+al -ontr+4ut+ons made or tas6s done 4# regular mem4ers !ere appre-+ated;
8' Commitment' Group mem4ers re-ogn+se the# are there to ser,e one another: and
agree to ma6e themsel,es and the+r resour-es At+me: energ#: -ounsel: e,en mater+al
help +f ne-essar#B a,a+la4le to ea-h other; Th+s +n-ludes g+,+ng attendan-e at group
meet+ngs top pr+or+t#; Ind+,+duals should not =o+n a group +f the# are not !+ll+ng to 4e
-omm+tted to +t; 2an# small groups use a -o,enant
..

4# !h+-h mem4ers a--ept group
goals and ,alues and -omm+t themsel,es to meet+ng !+th the group;
A' ,onest0' In order for trust to gro! among mem4ers of a group: and 4e-ause !e are
a--ounta4le to ea-h other Asee po+nt 3 4elo!B the# must 4e !+ll+ng to 4e honest !+th
ea-h other; In a small-group sett+ng: th+s means sa#+ng !hat needs to 4e sa+d: for the
good of the group or for the good of an +nd+,+dual mem4er; '--ord+ng to @esus: !e
ha,e a t!o-!a# respons+4+l+t# +n th+s area; If !e are a!are that someone holds
someth+ng aga+nst us A4e-ause of someth+ng !e m+ght ha,e sa+d or doneB: !e should
do !hat !e -an to put th+ngs r+ght A2atthe! (:2.B; S+m+larl#: +f !e ha,e someth+ng
aga+nst someone else: +ts our pr+,+lege to address the +ssue and see6 re-on-+l+at+on
A2atthe! %8:%(-%3B;
It +s poss+4le to 4e 4rutall# honest; ?o!e,er: as !e tr# to l+,e a--ord+ng to the sp+r+t of
the la!: not =ust the letter: honest# !+ll ne,er 4e destru-t+,e: 4ut speaking the truth
in lo)e.....we will in all things grow up into &im who is the &ead, that is, Christ.
A0phes+ans *:%(B Th+s !+ll not al!a#s 4e eas#; 0/press+ng honest op+n+ons +n 5+4le
stud# +s relat+,el# s+mple: and mature +nd+,+duals -an a--ept ad,+-e and e,en re4u6e
from the group; 5ut: as @esus ?+mself +nd+-ated: there !+ll 4e t+mes !hen the onl#
-orre-t pro-edure +s to deal !+th the +ssue +n pr+,ate: and ta6e +t to the group onl# as a
last resort;
B' Openness' Th+s +s s+mpl# the !+ll+ngness to 4e honest a4out oursel,es: to ta6e off
our mas6s and re,eal the personal+t# 4eh+nd them; Unfortunatel#: 4e-ause one of the
-onse>uen-es of s+n +s that people feel the# ha,e to h+de from ea-h other as !ell as
from God: openness doesnt -ome naturall# to us; <et -lose relat+onsh+ps -an onl#
de,elop 4et!een people !ho 6no! ea-h other !ell - and that means -om+ng out of
h+d+ng;
Openness does not +mpl# that !e must share e,er# deta+l of our pr+,ate l+,es !+th
e,er#one elseC 4ut +t does +mpl# that +n a small group !e should 4e a4le to adm+t to
4e+ng human: and not -la+m - or g+,e the +mpress+on - that !e are someth+ng !e are
not; It +s l+4erat+ng to 4e part of a group of people !ho are at ease !+th themsel,es as
the# share naturall# !+th one another the+r =o#s: hurts: am4+t+ons and d+sappo+ntments;
2oreo,er: people -an a--ept ea-h other more eas+l# +f e,er#one 6no!s that D!hat #ou
see +s !hat #ou get;E
..
)or sample -o,enant see 'ppend+/ 0;
.(
9' Confidentialit0' Openness and honest# !+ll not flour+sh !+thout -onf+dent+al+t#; 5ut
!here there +s an atmosphere of lo,e and trust: and an agreement that !hate,er +s
shared !+th+n the group !+ll not 4e shared else!here: group mem4ers - e,en the sh#
ones - -an feel safe 4e+ng themsel,es and e/press+ng themsel,es;
In the earl# stages of group e/per+en-e: !h+le mem4ers are gett+ng to 6no! ea-h other
and fr+ends are 4e+ng +n,+ted to =o+n: -ommun+-at+on +s naturall# at a fa+rl# superf+-+al
le,el: and there +s no need to ma6e the matter of -onf+dent+al+t# an +ssue; Th+s +s one of
those ,alues that +s added along the !a# to prote-t the group as the le,el of shar+ng
deepens;
:' Sensiti.it0' 0,er# mem4er of a group has h+s or her o!n un+>ue 4a-6ground:
feel+ngs and needs; 0,en people !+th mu-h +n -ommon - +nterests: profess+on: gender:
age: ra-e: et-; - soon d+s-o,er that the+r d+fferen-es outnum4er the+r s+m+lar+t+es; "e
are all +nd+,+duals: and !h+le the a+m of small groups +s to de,elop a sense of oneness
among d+fferent people: +t +s also the+r purpose to help ea-h person to gro!
+nd+,+duall#; Sens+t+,+t# +s the s6+ll of re-ogn+s+ng and respe-t+ng our d+fferen-es:
espe-+all# our l+m+tat+ons; Those l+m+tat+ons +n-lude: among other th+ngs:
6no!ledge of the 5+4le
!+ll+ngnessLa4+l+t# to read the 5+4le aloud
le,el of part+-+pat+on +n d+s-uss+on
read+ness to pra#
read+ness to tal6 a4out personal e/per+en-e
The 4ottom l+ne +s that e,er#one should 4e a4le to feel at home +n a small group; "e
ha,e no r+ght to pro4e 4e#ond !hat an# mem4er -hooses to sa# ,oluntar+l#; 'nd
!here 'd,ent+sts are +ntera-t+ng !+th non-'d,ent+sts or non-Chr+st+ans: !e must ta6e
-are not to -reate an Dus and themE atmosphere: or -ause an#one to feel more +gnorant
than the rest; Th+s +s one reason !h# pre-prepared 5+4le-stud# 4oo6lets or outl+nes are
su-h a good +dea: the# ma6e 5+4le stud# s+mple for those !ho are unfam+l+ar !+th +t; If
#ou -hoose not to use them: at least ma6e sure to pro,+de e,er#one !+th the same
5+4le: and use page num4ers for referen-e as !ell as -hapter and ,erse; 5e sens+t+,e;
C' "ccountabilit0' Ind+,+duals are a--ounta4le to ea-h other for personal gro!th and
the gro!th of the group; Th+s means !e must 4e !+ll+ng to re-e+,e as !ell as g+,e help
and support: +nput and feed4a-6; 0a-h group +s also a--ounta4le to the -hur-h for the
!a# +t affe-ts the l+,es of +ts mem4ers and the -ongregat+on as a !hole; Groups are not
+ndependent un+ts: 4ut parts of one -hur-h 4od#: -onne-ted !+th ea-h other through an
appropr+ate s#stem of management;
&ossible !anagement Structure for
Small Group Church of 344 !embers
&astor
O
O O
Super.isor of Super.isor of
(i.e Group #eaders (i.e Group #eaders
.
OOOOO OOOOO
Small Groups Small Groups
D' $eproduction' Small groups are -omm+tted to gro!th through a some!hat unusual
method; The# mult+pl# 4# d+,+d+ng; The# are a reprodu-+4le s#stem; The+r a+m +s not to
gro! as 4+g as poss+4le: 4ut as numerous as poss+4le; Th+s means that !hen a group
has gro!n to full -apa-+t# Ama/+mum +s usuall# t!el,e mem4ersB: or has a-h+e,ed +ts
o4=e-t+,eLs: some group mem4ers !+ll lea,e to form a ne! group and other ne!
mem4ers !+ll =o+n: or all mem4ers !+ll separate to =o+n other groups; )or the sa6e of
the gro!th of the -hur-h: group mem4ers are !+ll+ng to a--ept the pa+n that th+s
somet+mes +n,ol,es; Understand+ng th+s pr+n-+ple from the 4eg+nn+ng a,o+ds the
de,elopment of e/-lus+,e -l+>uesF
7' $ele.ance' Small groups !+ll onl# 4e of 4enef+t +f !hat the# do and ho! the# do +t
+s rele,ant to the l+,es of group mem4ers; "ell 4efore the -ore mem4ers of the group
Ausuall# f+,e to se,en -hur-h mem4ersB start +n,+t+ng fr+ends to =o+n them: the goals for
the group should 4e -lear: 4# address+ng su-h >uest+ons as:
"+ll the group a+m to attra-t non-Chr+st+ans: other Chr+st+ans of other
persuas+ons: or 4oth$ Remem4er: the greater the d+fferen-es 4et!een the
people +n the group: the more d+ff+-ult +t !+ll 4e to meet an# part+-ular need;
"+ll +t 4e a spe-+al +nterest group for #oung parents: -ollege students:
s+ngles: et-C or !+ll +t 4e a general +nterest group +n !h+-h people from
d+fferent -ultural groups -an feel -omforta4le together$
"hat !+ll the group tr# to a-h+e,e short-term: med+um-term: long-term$
?o! !+ll the group a-h+e,e +ts goals: and !hat mater+als !+ll +t use$
'ns!er+ng these >uest+ons !+ll help to ma6e sure that !hat the group does +s rele,ant
to +ts mem4ers; 5e#ond that: -are !+ll need to 4e ta6en +n the -ho+-e of 5+4les Aa
modern translat+on !+ll usuall# 4e 4estB: and language used dur+ng meet+ngs Ano
rel+g+ous =argon or 'd,ent+st-spea6 pleaseBC remem4er that man# dont e,en 6no! !ho
@esus +s Aso !hen #ou pra#: 4ear +n m+nd that D<ouE means more to most people than
Dthee and Dthou;EB
34' $ela5ed "tmosphere' "e learn and gro! 4est !hen !e are en=o#+ng !hat !e
are do+ng; Small group meet+ngs should therefore 4e o--as+ons !hen people -an rela/:
laugh together: and en=o# ea-h others -ompan# and the stud# of Gods "ord; The
Chr+st+an l+fe has +ts ser+ous s+de: of -ourse; 5ut a tense: o,er-ser+ous atmosphere that
+s not tempered !+th the =o# that Chr+st has prom+sed !+ll not help +nd+,+duals and
groups to gro!;
#en values ) they look simple enough, don1t they: /nd they should be" /fter all,
they are the values which governed Christ1s ministry" #he fact is, they are not as
simple as they seem" $2omeone said they are more difficult to keep than the ten
commandmentsB' #hey don1t come naturally, so you may find that some people are
.3
uncomfortable with them, because they really do represent a major change to the
traditional way in which many 0ible study and prayer groups have been conducted"
It will take time and effort to make changes" 0ut individuals and the church as a
whole will be the better for those changes ) and that will make the effort
worthwhile"
?entist1s ?iscovery
/ member of a small group was so e-cited about the group meetings that he told
his dentist friend about them and invited him to attend" #he following 5onday
evening, the friend was relieved to find, as he was introduced to the other group
members, that many of them were fellow)professionals" #he person leading the
group was a judge" #he atmosphere was informal" +e felt at ease"
/t the same time, he was pu66led" +ow could educated people accept the 0ible as
authoritative ) as these people did ) and talk about %esus as if +e were alive: +e
raised his concerns with the friend who had invited him" Instead of being defensive
or trying to prove anything, he simply said, 7%ust keep coming to the meetings"9
&hen he attended for the second time, the dentist challenged the group ) but they,
too, simply encouraged him to share with them what they were reading in the
0ible"
.8
?espite his reservations, he continued attending, and enjoyed each meeting" 0efore
very long, he had to admitC 7I don1t understand what is going on here, but you
people have something that I have never seen or e-perienced before" &hat is it:9
#hey replied, 7&e have the !ord %esus"9
+e asked, 7+ow can I have the !ord %esus:9 /nd there in the small group meeting
they were able to lead him to a personal acceptance of %esus Christ as his 2aviour
and !ord"9
(<
Chapter Six
S!"## G$O%&S IN E@"NGE#IS!
+nd e)ery day the 1ord added to their group those who were being sa)ed.
6+cts 289B ;NB<
,angel+sm +s d+ff+-ult; "hene,er and !here,er men and !omen are -onfronted
!+th the -la+ms of @esus Chr+st on the+r l+,es: there !+ll 4e oppos+t+on; Through
e,angel+sm the -hur-h +s engag+ng +n open -onfl+-t 4oth !+th human nature and
!+th spiritual forces of e)il in the hea)enly realms. A0phes+ans :%2 NIIB
0
In add+t+on: -erta+n -ultural -hara-ter+st+-s mean that the pro-ess of e,angel+sm +s made
more d+ff+-ult +n some -ountr+es than +t m+ght 4e +n others; In 5r+ta+n for e/ample: !e
must address at least three spe-+f+- -hallenges +f !e are to 4e effe-t+,e +n rea-h+ng most
5r+t+sh people D!here the# are;E
.(
The# are:
a- The challenge of reaching the unchurched maEorit0'
.*
"ollan: ;od at 'ork in $mall ;roups, EE.
.(
Please note: 4# the !a#: that I am not +gnor+ng the po!er of the Gospel 4# fo-us+ng on d+ff+-ult+es; I
am s+mpl# sa#+ng that solut+ons are found Ae,en +n pra#erB more eas+l# !hen #ou 6no! !hat the
pro4lem +s;B
.9
)or a long t+me no!: the large ma=or+t# of 5r+t+sh people ha,e had no -onne-t+on !+th
the Chr+st+an -hur-h: e/-ept perhaps to attend a !edd+ng or a funeral; In %8(%: -hur-h
attendan-e !as *&M of the populat+on; No! +t +s do!n to less than %&M A+n man#
to!ns and -+t+es +t +s -ons+dera4l# less than that;B;
.
S+n-e 4as+- edu-at+on +n Chr+st+an
tea-h+ngs has 4een +nade>uate +n our s-hools for man# #ears: !e ha,e a s+tuat+on
!here poss+4l# three generat+ons of people !ho l+,e +n our ne+gh4ourhoods ha,e ne,er
read the 5+4le: ha,e no +dea !hat God +s l+6e: and no understand+ng of the Gospel;
The# are not ne-essar+l# athe+stsC the# =ust dont 6no! !hat Chr+st+an+t# +s all a4out;
O,er the last th+rt# #ears: =ust a small per-entage of those !ho ha,e =o+ned the
'd,ent+st -hur-h Aperhaps (-%&MB ha,e -ome from th+s large ma=or+t# of the
populat+on; 2ost of our D-on,ertsE dur+ng th+s per+od ha,e 4een people !ho alread#
had an 'd,ent+st andLor Chr+st+an 4a-6ground: or at least a Chr+st+an !a# of th+n6+ng;
2oreo,er: as t+me goes 4#: our effe-t+,eness +n rea-h+ng un-hur-hed people seems to
4e gett+ng less: not greater; Th+s +s -ause for -on-ern: espe-+all# !hen !e re-ogn+se
that some non-'d,ent+st -ongregat+ons are !+nn+ng un-hur-hed people +n s+gn+f+-ant
num4ers;
Clearl#: the d+stan-e 4et!een Chr+st+ans and non-Chr+st+ans +s !+der than +t has e,er
4een: +n terms of moral ,alues: l+fest#le: and general !orld-,+e!; In man# !a#s so-+et#
has -hanged rad+-all# o,er the last three de-ades A+f +n dou4t as6 an#one o,er fort#FB;
1+fe as a !hole mo,es mu-h faster than 4efore; The !orld +s smaller; Commun+-at+on
+s +nstant: more or less; Conse>uentl# peoples e/per+en-e of l+fe: the+r needs and
pro4lems are d+fferent no! to !hat the# used to 4e; 0,en our ,o-a4ular# has -hanged:
and people e/press themsel,es d+fferentl# through the language the# use: the mus+-
the# l+sten to: the -lothes the# !ear: the+r ho44+es and +nterests; 2an# of these -hanges
are ne+ther r+ght or !rong - the# are =ust d+fferent to !hat !e are used to;
The pro4lem +s that !h+le so-+et# has -hanged a great deal: our -hur-h has -hanged
,er# l+ttle; 2u-h of !hat !e do +n -hur-h and ho! !e do +t +s the same as !e !ere
do+ng: !ellO;+n some -ases for as long as !e -an remem4er; 'nd: of -ourse: theres
noth+ng !rong +n that; "e naturall# feel -omforta4le !+th !hat +s fam+l+ar to us;
5ut !hat +f our trad+t+onal !a# of do+ng th+ngs a-tuall# adds to the d+stan-e that
alread# e/+sts 4et!een oursel,es and our un-hur-hed ne+gh4ours$ "hat +f !e spea6 a
language the# do not understand$ "hat +f !e -ome a-ross as +rrele,ant and out of
tou-h !+th the real !orld: e,en +f the truths !e 4el+e,e are a-tuall# as rele,ant no! as
the# al!a#s !ere$
It ma# mean that our Sa44ath morn+ng !orsh+p ser,+-e or the -hur-hLtent e,angel+st+-
meet+ng +s no longer the 4est or most su+ta4le +ntrodu-t+on to the 'd,ent+st fa+th for
most 0ngl+sh se-ular people; It ma# also mean that the small group sett+ng +s pro4a4l#
the 4est !a# !e no! ha,e of +ntrodu-+ng our un-hur-hed fr+ends to the -hur-h !e
lo,e;
Certa+nl# other Chur-hes +n 5r+ta+n ha,e found that small groups ha,e 4een an effe-t+,e
!a# of rea-h+ng un-hur-hed people; The +lpha mo,ement +s an outstand+ng e/ample
of th+s; In re-ent #ears: hundreds of -hur-hes through thousands of small groups
nat+on-!+de: ha,e su--essfull# used the +lpha course
?B
for small groups: de,eloped at
.
Peter 5r+erle#: Christian .ngland A0ltham: 1ondon: 2'RC 0urope: %99%B: .&;
.3
+lpha course and other mater+als A0ast4ourne: 0ngland: J+ngs!a# Pu4l+-at+onsB
*&
?ol# Tr+n+t# Chur-h: 5rompton: 1ondon less than a de-ade ago; The result: tens of
thousands of un-hur-hed people ha,e 4e-ome d+s-+ples of @esus: and pro4a4l# more
-ont+nue to 4e rea-hed th+s !a# than 4# an# other method;
b- The challenge of long-term /itness'
The C2) AChr+st+an 2+ss+onar# )ello!sh+pB !h+-h +s an organ+sat+on -omm+tted to
plant+ng ne! -hur-hes +n man# -ountr+es +n-lud+ng 5r+ta+n: has o4ser,ed that +n
!or6+ng among people !ho are non-Chr+st+an 4ut re-ept+,e: the pro-ess of 4u+ld+ng
relat+onsh+ps ta6es longer here than +n other -ountr+es;
.8

Th+s +s part+-ularl# true +n
pro,+n-+al and rural areas: !here +t ta6es -ons+dera4le t+me for pre=ud+-es to 4e 4ro6en
do!n and for a lo-al -ommun+t# to a--ept a stranger mo,+ng +n from another area: let
alone em4ra-e a ne! 6+nd of rel+g+onF Small groups: ho!e,er: are ta+lor-made for th+s
part+-ular -hallenge; The# are the +deal !a# of esta4l+sh+ng: 4u+ld+ng and ma+nta+n+ng
long-term relat+onsh+ps !+th 5r+t+sh non-'d,ent+sts;
c- The challenge of bridging cultural differences'
"here -ongregat+ons refle-t fa+rl# !ell the -ultural m+/ of the -ommun+t+es +n !h+-h
the# !orsh+p: ,+s+tors from those -ommun+t+es !ho attend our -hur-hes -an feel >u+te
-omforta4le: all other th+ngs 4e+ng e>ual Asu-h as the +ssues referred to a4o,eB;
?o!e,er: !here the large ma=or+t# of the -hur-h mem4ersh+p represents a -ulture that
+s per-e+,ed to 4e d+fferent to that of the ma=or+t# of those !ho l+,e +n the -ommun+t#:
the -ultural D4arr+erE +s an add+t+onal -hallenge to 4e o,er-ome;
's !e address th+s -hallenge +t ma# 4e that long-term strateg+- plann+ng should +n-lude
the +dea of plant+ng d+fferent -hur-hes to rea-h d+fferent groups of people +n so-+et#;
Ind+,+duals g+fted and a4le to -ross -ultural 4arr+ers and 4e-ome Dall th+ngs to all menE
AI Cor+nth+ans 9:%9-22B should 4e found and tra+ned to lead +n th+s 6+nd of e,angel+sm;
2ean!h+le: the small group offers a sett+ng !h+-h +s less threaten+ng than a -hur-h
4u+ld+ng: !here small groups of people from d+fferent -ultural or ra-+al 4a-6grounds
-an meet for the shar+ng of the Gospel and the 4u+ld+ng of 4r+dges a-ross -ultural
d+,+des;
Small group e.angelistic opportunities'
In re-ent #ears man# non-'d,ent+st -ongregat+ons 4oth +n th+s -ountr# and else!here
ha,e gro!n rap+dl#; 'lmost !+thout e/-ept+on: the# see small groups as a ma=or
reason for the+r su--ess; If the+r e/per+en-e +s an#th+ng to go 4#: !e too -an e/pe-t
that small groups !+ll pro,e to 4e the most effe-t+,e long-term method of on-go+ng
e,angel+sm !e ha,e e,er de,eloped;; Cons+der the follo!+ng statement as a poss+4le
e/planat+on for th+s:
The e)angelistic programmes which will probably command most
respect will be those which treat the hearers as persons and respect their
integrityG which are able to meet them at the point of their present
understandingG which encourage long*term, in*depth in)ol)ement with
themG which take place primarily out in the world as an integral part of
the total ongoing ministry of the Christian communityG which readily
incorporate new Christians into that ministry and contribute to its
spiritual de)elopment.
?E

.8
Dan <arnell: D"here Do "e Go )rom ?ere$E Church ;rowth 3igest ASummer %993B: 8;
.9
2all+son: The $mall ;roup 1eader, 9.
*%
Small groups meet these re>u+rements 4etter than most of our trad+t+onal approa-hes
to e,angel+sm; 'nd +f the# -an 4e l+n6ed !+th other e,angel+st+- programmes des+gned
!+th -ontemporar# so-+et# +n m+nd Ae;g; -ulturall# rele,ant pu4l+- e,angel+st+- meet+ngs
and sem+nars: see6er ser,+-es: d+fferent 6+nds of -hur-hes for d+fferent 6+nds of people:
et-;B: the+r e,angel+st+- potent+al -ould pro,e to 4e unl+m+ted;
Through small groups: there +s no reason !h# e,er# Se,enth-da# 'd,ent+st -annot
4e-ome +n,ol,ed !+th e,angel+sm; 0,en those !ho ha,e al!a#s felt too t+m+d to share
the+r fa+th !+th others !+ll soon f+nd the -onf+den-e to do so eas+l# and naturall# 4#
4e-om+ng part of a small group team;
E.angelism Through Small Groups
Tra+n+ng su4-groups Conta-t e,angel+sm
e;g; Sp+r+tual g+fts sem+nar su4-groups
"+tness+ng !or6shop e;g; Parent+ng sem+nar
Small group leaders Coo6er# -lasses
tra+n+ng -lass 1+terature group
Pr+mar#
Small Groups
Spe-+al tas6 su4-group Outrea-h su4-groups
e;g; 5apt+smal -lass See6er ser,+-e
Ne! mem4ers -lass Re,elat+on sem+nar
One reason for th+s +s that the pr+mar# e,angel+st+- role of small groups +s to +ntrodu-e
people to @esus: e/pla+n +n pra-t+-al terms !hat +t means to 4e a Chr+st+an: and help
Chr+st+ans gro! +n the+r relat+onsh+p !+th ?+m; Certa+n do-tr+nal 5+4le su4=e-ts and
l+fest#le +ssues -an 4e 4etter -o,ered +n su4-groups: su-h as a 4apt+smal -lass;
Small Groups and Special E.angelistic Opportunities' 's a -hur-h !e ha,e man#
methods of e,angel+st+- outrea-h: some !ell-tr+ed: others ne! and e/per+mental; In
most: +f not all: small groups -ould pla# an +mportant part; Cons+der the follo!+ng
e/amples:
Global mission church planting proEects' In response to our 1ords
-omm+ss+on A2atthe! 28:%9B and @ohns des-r+pt+on of the f+nal pro-lamat+on of
the Gospel ARe,elat+on %*:B: 'd,ent+sts ha,e the am4+t+ous goal of plant+ng ne!
-hur-hes +n e,er# ma=or -+t# and to!n and among e,er# s+gn+f+-ant people-group
!here the -hur-h st+ll has no presen-e; In -ountr+es l+6e Great 5r+ta+n: th+s presents
a ma=or -hallenge: espe-+all# +n ,+e! of our -hur-h-plant+ng e/per+en-e +n the past;
2an# of our -hur-hes +n 5r+ta+n ha,e ne,er gro!n mu-h larger than the# !ere
!hen the# !ere planted; The# 4egan small: and ha,e rema+ned small e,er s+n-e; In
man# -ases the# !ere the result of -ottage meet+ngs: 5ran-h Sa44ath S-hools: or
pu4l+- e,angel+st+- -ampa+gns; In most +f not all -ases: Sa44ath !orsh+p ser,+-es
*2
A+;e; Sa44ath S-hool and D+,+ne Ser,+-eB !ere started as soon as there !ere a
handful of people !ho !ere !+ll+ng to meet together: or: !here e,angel+st+-
meet+ngs !ere held: Sa44ath ser,+-es !ere started soon after the su4=e-t of the
Sa44ath !as presented; In retrospe-t: perhaps th+s !as not the 4est approa-h;
Poss+4l# the ,er# smallness of those -hur-h groups !as a fa-tor +n l+m+t+ng the+r
future gro!th;
Th+s seems to 4e -onf+rmed 4# the fa-t that some -hur-h plant+ng e/perts are no!
re-ommend+ng that other 6+nds of meet+ng of a more e,angel+st+- nature should
-ont+nue unt+l se,ent#-f+,e to one hundred people -an form a -ongregat+on; Onl#
then should regular -ele4rat+on-st#le -hur-h !orsh+p ser,+-es 4e started;
*&
There are
t!o reasons 4eh+nd th+s th+n6+ng:
+; "orsh+p ser,+-es on Sa44ath are large-group meet+ngs 4# nature; The !orsh+p
format and st#le follo!ed 4# most 'd,ent+st -hur-hes - +;e; the -ho+-e of h#mns:
the prea-h+ng of the sermon: the fo-us on the D4+gnessR of God: et-; - are
des+gned for large groups; The# !or6 4etter !+th a large group than !+th a
small group; To attempt to do a Dlarge-group th+ngE !+th a small group -an
therefore lessen +ts o,erall +mpa-t on the +nd+,+duals +n the group; If those
+nd+,+duals are not alread# -omm+tted to the group Ae;g; +f the# are f+rst-t+me
,+s+tors or see6ersB: the# ma# not f+nd the e/per+en-e of !orsh+p suff+-+entl#
st+mulat+ng or sat+sf#+ng to !ant to return - ho!e,er !arm the fello!sh+p m+ght
4e;
++; Chur-h !orsh+p ser,+-es are or+ented more to!ard 4el+e,ers than un4el+e,ers;
Chur-h mem4ers therefore feel -omforta4le 4e-ause e,er#th+ng +s fam+l+ar and
the# feel part of the fam+l#; ?o!e,er: the ,er# th+ngs that ma6e mem4ers feel
-omforta4le -an ha,e the oppos+te effe-t on non-mem4ers: espe-+all# non-
Chr+st+ans; Those !ho ,+s+t our -hur-hes ma# feel threatened 4e-ause the# sense
that the# are d+fferent to e,er#one else; The# also need Rspa-eR - the
opportun+t# to s+mpl# o4ser,e: !+thout 4e+ng dra!n +nto the group; The smaller
the -ongregat+on: the more d+ff+-ult +t +s to -reate an ade>uate -omfort Hone for
non-mem4ers: and some are therefore d+s-ouraged from attend+ng;
It follo!s that a 4etter approa-h to -hur-h plant+ng +n the future !ould 4e to:
4u+ld the foundat+on of the ne! -ongregat+on through small groups A!+th
!hate,er methods of pu4l+- !+tness !or6 4estB to help 4r+ng +t to a
reasona4le s+He 4efore Sa44ath meet+ngs 4e-ome regular -hur-h ser,+-es
start Sa44ath meet+ngs as e,angel+st+- meet+ngs: or+ented more to non-
mem4ers than mem4ers unt+l the -ongregat+on has gro!n to an ade>uate
s+He: or e,en
-ons+der -ont+nu+ng Sa44ath ser,+-es as e,angel+st+- meet+ngs +ndef+n+tel#:
!h+le underg+rd+ng the gro!+ng -hur-h !+th an on-go+ng small group
m+n+str#
*&
e;g; Ro4ert 1ogan: Beyond Church ;rowth AGrand Rap+ds: 2I: )lem+ng ?; Re,ell: D+,+s+on of
5a6er 5oo6 ?ouse: %989B
*.
Establishing churches for ethnic minorities' )urther to !hat !e ha,e alread#
o4ser,ed a4out the -hallenge of 4r+dg+ng -ultural d+fferen-es +n a general !a#: !e
must not forget that there are man# ethn+- m+nor+t# groups +n our larger -+t+es
!h+-h our e/+st+ng -hur-hes are not su--essfull# rea-h+ng; No dou4t th+s +s part#
4e-ause of -ultural and language 4arr+ers: and partl# 4e-ause our -hur-h
programmes are not spe-+f+-all# targeted to meet+ng the+r needs; In 1ondon: for
e/ample: there are large num4ers of Ch+nese: Jorean: 's+an: Gree6 and Iran+an
people: to name =ust a fe!: !ho do not respond to our outrea-h e,ents;
In re-ent #ears: Ghana+an and ?+span+- -ongregat+ons ha,e 4een planted
su--essfull# +n that -+t#: =ust l+6e man# others !orld-!+de; 5ut doHens of other
groups ha,e #et to 4e rea-hed; ?o! -an !e mult+pl# su-h ethn+- -hur-hes >u+-6l#$
One !a# +s to 4r+ng pa+d pastors from o,erseas to !or6 for the+r o!n people; Th+s
ma# 4e su--essful: 4ut +t +s e/pens+,e: and therefore not an opt+on for the man#
groups !e need to rea-h;
'n alternat+,e approa-h +s to use small groups; In man# -ases !e ha,e one or
se,eral 'd,ent+sts from su-h groups attend+ng our -hur-hes: most of !hom !ere
alread# -hur-h mem4ers !hen the# arr+,ed +n th+s -ountr#; If these -ould 4e tra+ned
+n small group leadersh+p: ethn+- -hur-hes led 4# la# pastors -ould de,elop >u+-6l#;
The Net &rogramme' In some pla-es +t ma# 4e 4etter to d+re-t +nterests !h+-h
de,elop from th+s ser+es +nto small groups: 4efore the# are +n,+ted to our -hur-hes;
@oice of &rophec0F)isco.er0 Bible Schools' Our approa-h +n the past has
generall# 4een to relate !+th su-h -onta-ts on a one-to-one 4as+s: 4efore +n,+t+ng
them to -hur-h or the 4+g e,angel+st+- meet+ng; ?o!e,er: after students ha,e
4e-ome used to 5+4le stud# alone at home: man# are relu-tant Aperhaps 4e-ause
-orresponden-e -ourses attra-t sh# peopleB to attend pu4l+- e,ents; Small groups
-ould 4e one !a# of 4r+ng+ng se,eral students l+,+ng +n -lose pro/+m+t# together
mu-h earl+er: e,en for the stud# of the+r lessons;
)ifferent contacts in isolated areas' "e m+ght 4e surpr+sed to d+s-o,er ho!
man# -hur-h -onta-ts !e ha,e +n so--alled +solated areas: +f onl# !e too6 t+me to
-o-ord+nate all the ,ar+ous sour-es of +nterest !e ha,e; These +n-lude:
+solated mem4ers
relat+,es and fr+ends of mem4ers
'"R -onta-ts
former Io+-e of Prophe-# students
Internet users
former -hur-h mem4ers
If !e -ould ma6e su+ta4le tra+n+ng -ourses a,a+la4le to them =ust as !e do our 5+4le
-ourses: e+ther 4# -orresponden-e or Internet: or at -entral+sed ,enues: !e ma#
!ell f+nd ade>uate leadersh+p emerg+ng from those -onta-ts suff+-+ent for the
de,elopment of small groups: e,en !here no profess+onal pastoral super,+s+on +s
a,a+la4le;

**
Small Groups and a (inished +ork' "e ha,e al!a#s 4el+e,ed that the -los+ng !or6
of the Gospel 4efore the return of Chr+st !+ll 4e s+m+lar to +ts 4eg+nn+ng at Pente-ost:
onl# more glor+ous;
.3
No! +s the t+me to plan for the gather+ng of that un+>ue har,est;
One reason the ?ol# Sp+r+ts !or6 +n the earl# -hur-h !as so produ-t+,e: !as 4e-ause
the small-group s#stem on !h+-h the Ne! Testament -hur-h !as 4ased made +t
poss+4le for the -hur-h to a4sor4: nurture and de,elop so man# ne! d+s-+ples for
m+n+str# so >u+-6l#; One !onders !hat !ould ha,e happened to that mult+tude of ne!
4el+e,ers +f that s#stem had not 4een +n pla-eC and one also !onders !hat !+ll happen
!hen the ?ol# Sp+r+t !or6s +n an e,en more po!erful !a# +n our da#: +f !e ha,e no
s#stem that +s ade>uate for !hat ?e !ants to do; 5ut e,+dentl#: !e !+ll;
It +s s+gn+f+-ant that 0llen "h+te: +n her des-r+pt+on of Gods remnant people 4efore
the+r del+,eran-e: g+,es the +mpress+on that the# a!a+t the return of Chr+st +n small
groups;
*%

G+,en our understand+ng of the t+me of trou4le at that t+me: +t +s unl+6el# that
our +nst+tut+ons and -hur-h 4u+ld+ngs !+ll 4e the fo-us of our -hur-h l+fe as the# are
no!; No! +s the t+me to de,elop small-group -hur-hes that !+ll sur,+,e the storm;
Gust imagine'''''There are enough Se,enth-da# 'd,ent+sts +n 5r+ta+n to form
Atheoret+-all#B o,er t!o and a half thousand small groups a-ross the -ountr#; If onl#
half our mem4ersh+p !ere properl# tra+ned and +n,ol,ed: there -ould 4e %:2(& groups
!+th an a,erage of roughl# se,en -ore mem4ers ea-h: -omm+tted to shar+ng the+r fa+th;
If ea-h group made =ust one ne! d+s-+ple for @esus dur+ng the f+rst #ear: and the
num4er of groups +n-reased as the num4er of people +n-reased: there !ould 4e 23:&&&
ne! d+s-+ples after onl# ten #earsF Thats one and a half t+mes the present mem4ersh+p;
5ut !hat +f ea-h group made t!o ne! d+s-+ples ea-h #ear +nstead of one$ The result
!ouldnt 4e =ust t!+-e as man# d+s-+ples; 't the end of ten #ears: !e !ould ha,e
appro/+matel# %&.:(&& ne! 4el+e,ersFF "hat +s more: there !ould 4e %:2(& Se,enth-
da# 'd,ent+st led small groups all o,er the -ountr#: produ-+ng 4# the 4less+ng of God
e,en more aston+sh+ng gro!th ea-h su--eed+ng #ear;
The pr+n-+pal a+m: remem4er: +s to ma6e d+s-+ples: not ne-essar+l# -hur-h mem4ers;
"+th th+s approa-h to e,angel+sm: +t doesnt reall# matter +f people are not 4apt+sed
and added to the -hur-h reg+ster after a f+,e !ee6 e,angel+st+- programme; "hat
matters +s that the# are +n,ol,ed: the# are attend+ng group meet+ngs and ma#4e -hur-h
ser,+-es on Sa44ath; The# are gro!+ng +n the+r 6no!ledge and e/per+en-e of God and
de,elop+ng relat+onsh+ps as the# stud# the S-r+ptures: and sooner or later: the# !+ll 4e
4apt+sed; True d+s-+ples of @esus !+ll 4e-ome -hur-h mem4ers +n Gods o!n good
t+me;
*%
"h+te: .arly 'ritings, 282;
*(
Gust a dream='or is it a .ision? Su-h a rate of gro!th !ould 4e unpre-edented +n
'd,ent+st h+stor#; 2oreo,er !e ha,e learned 4# e/per+en-e that souls are hardl# !on
and eas+l# lost; So !e are hes+tant to dream su-h 4+g dreams; <et !e also 6no! that
D!here there +s no ,+s+on: the people per+sh;E APro,er4s 29:%8 J@IB "hether a
prophet+- ,+s+on or an +nsp+red p+-ture of !hat God !ants to a--ompl+sh through ?+s
-hur-h: the fa-t +s that !+thout a large goal +n m+nd: !e !+ll a-h+e,e l+ttle; The 4+gger
the dream - pro,+ded +t +s real+st+- - the 4+gger the poss+4+l+t+es;
It can be done> "+th Gods 4less+ng: +ts !+th+n our rea-h; It +s def+n+tel# a-h+e,a4le;
It happened 4efore at Pente-ost; Its happen+ng no! +n some small group -hur-hes; "e
ha,e the prom+se that the ?ol# Sp+r+t !+ll ma6e +t happen aga+n: !+th or !+thout us; So
!hat are !e !a+t+ng for$
(rom Small to Big in 84 1ears
Small group e5pert Carl George belie.es
an annual gro/th rate for small groups of 84H
is reasonable' That means that a group of ten
can gro/ to t/el.e in t/el.e months'
It also means that
94 members can gro/ to
344 in four 0ears
A34 in ten 0ears
CC4 in fifteen 0ears
8A9D in t/ent0 0ears
*
0etter than a @astorDs 2ermonB
/ man named %ack once said to me, E&hen you preached on tithing, I said to my
wife, DIDll never do thatB +eDs just after our money"D /nd then we went to our small
group, and they started talking and sharing about tithing ) about the blessings they
had e-perienced since they began tithing, about the e-citement they felt in their
lives at the realisation that they were partnering with od through their tithing"
0efore I knew it, IDd signed up to be one of those tithersB >ow I can say that itDs one
of the greatest things thatDs ever happened in my life" 0ut, pastor, I never would
have done it through your preaching" I did it through the sharing of the testimonies
in our $small'group"E
<4
Chapter Seven
O$G"NISING S!"## G$O%&S

$o then, as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without actions is dead.
6-ames 282= ;NB<
*2
Told +n Gallo!a#: The $mall ;roup Book, =B.
*3
f #ou ha,e read th+s far: #ou !+ll real+se that the de,elopment of small group
m+n+str# +n our -hur-hes !+ll mean more than a superf+-+al ad=ustment to the !a#
!e do th+ngs at present; "ere loo6+ng at a rad+-al -hange - a trans+t+on from an
old s#stem to a ne! and d+fferent s#stem; 5# !a# of rem+nder: here are a fe! of the
-hanges our -hur-h mem4ers !+ll e/per+en-e:
I
-hanges +n the roleL=o4 des-r+pt+on of -erta+n 6e# +nd+,+duals: su-h as the pastor;
-hanges +n the role of the la+t#: !h+-h some ma# !rongl# +nterpret as an +n-rease +n
the 4urdensLrespons+4+l+t+es the# are alread# -arr#+ng;
-hanges +n st#le of and approa-h to m+n+str# - !hat !e do: and !hen and !here !e
do +t; e;g; Small groups ma# repla-e the trad+t+onal !ee6l# pra#er meet+ng: though
th+s !+ll not happen +n e,er# -ase;
-hanges +n the d#nam+-s of m+n+str# - ho! !e do !hat !e do; e;g; "e ma# need to
learn to 4e more tolerant than !e ha,e 4een +n the past: of people of other fa+ths:
learn+ng ho! to meet people !here the# are rather than e/pe-t+ng them to meet us
!here !e are;
-hanges +n -hur-h stru-ture and the de-+s+on-ma6+ng pro-ess; e;g; -erta+n -hur-h
off+-es ma# 4e-ome redundant: and the mem4ersh+p and fun-t+on of the -hur-h
4oard ma# -hange
2a6+ng -hanges of th+s 6+nd +s not go+ng to 4e eas#; Its go+ng to ta6e t+me: mu-h
pra#er: and -areful thought and plann+ng; So !e loo6 no! at the pro-ess of de,elop+ng
small group -hur-hes +n t!o d+fferent sett+ngs:
aB +n the -hur-h that has e/+sted for man# #ears and has !ell-esta4l+shed !a#s
of do+ng th+ngs: and
4B +n the -hur-h that +s =ust 4e+ng started or DplantedE +n a ne! area;
a- )e.eloping Small Groups in E5isting Congregations
2ost +f not all 'd,ent+st -ongregat+ons ha,e had some e/per+en-e of small groups +n
one form or another; Some of that e/per+en-e has 4een pos+t+,e: some has 4een
negat+,e; 0+ther !a#: the fa-t +s that the small group m+n+str# of the+r past e/per+en-e +s
almost -erta+nl# ,er# d+fferent to the small group m+n+str# !e are -ons+der+ng +n th+s
manual; The 4+ggest m+sta6e !e -ould ma6e !ould 4e to assume that !e alread# 6no!
!hat small groups are all a4out; In most -ases: de,elop+ng small groups +n e/+st+ng
-ongregat+ons reall# means start+ng from s-rat-h; 'nd thats the 4est pla-e from !h+-h
to start !or6+ng through the follo!+ng strateg# Athe follo!+ng po+nts are not ne-esar+l#
l+sted +n order of +mportan-e or se>uen-eB:
3' &ra0 at e.er0 stage of the process' Small group m+n+str# ma# 4e part of Gods plan
for #our -hur-h: 4ut mu-h !+sdom: pat+en-e and energ# !+ll 4e needed +n ma6+ng +t
happen; Pra#er +s needed espe-+all# +n the sele-t+on of group leaders and the format+on
of leadersh+p teamsC leadersh+p teams !+ll need d+,+ne gu+dan-e as the# +n,+te -hur-h
*8
mem4ers to form the+r -ore groupsC and ea-h -ore group !+ll need to pra# for God to
ma6e ?+s !+ll for the group - and !ho the# should +n,+te to +t - ,er# -lear;
8' )e.elop 0our understanding of small groups through read+ng as !+del# as
poss+4le from the more re-ent leadersh+p manuals that are a,a+la4le;
*.

2ost of these are
4# non-'d,ent+st authors: 4ut the# spea6 from e/per+en-e: and !e -an learn from
them; APlease dont th+n6 that 4# read+ng th+s manual: #ou need read no further; Th+s +s
=ust a 4r+ef +ntrodu-t+on;B If #ou ha,e had no f+rst-hand e/per+en-e !+th groups: tal6
!+th those !ho ha,e; If ne-essar# organ+se a Dtest groupE !+th a fe! fr+ends or
-olleagues: or =o+n a group 4e+ng run 4# another -hur-h A'd,ent+st or non-'d,ent+stB;
A' Gro/ don*t go into small groups' It !ont !or6 +f -hur-h leaders d+,+de the
-ongregat+on +nto groups and post l+sts on the not+-e4oard of !ho !+ll attend !h+-h
group; In de,elop+ng the l+fe--hang+ng mo,ement of ?+s -hur-h: @esus ?+mself:
4egan !+th three or four +nno,ators A!ho rema+ned ?+s -losest -onf+dants
throughout ?+s m+n+str#B
gathered a leadersh+p -ore of t!el,e A?+s o!n small groupB
added a support net!or6 of se,ent#
4u+lt a -ongregat+on of %2& 4el+e,ers: !ho then
mult+pl+ed to thousands after Pente-ost
That pro-ess too6 o,er three #ears; 'nd !e !ould do !ell to follo! ?+s e/ample: 4#
start+ng !+th a fe! 6e# +nd+,+duals !ho share the ,+s+on;
In e,er# -hur-h there are -erta+n op+n+on leaders !ho ma# or ma# not 4e -hur-h
off+-ers: 4ut !+thout the+r support: the -hange pro-ess !+ll 4e longer and more
d+ff+-ult; The follo!+ng d+agram
**
+nd+-ates that t!o or three people out of e,er#
hundred +n the a,erage -ongregat+on are !hat m+ght 4e des-r+4ed as Dmo,ers and
sha6ers;E The# d+sl+6e the status >uo; )or them: e,er#th+ng needs to -hange; These are
not the people to as6 to help #ou persuade the -hur-h to adopt the -on-ept of small
group m+n+str#; The# are too rad+-al: and e,en though the# ma# 4e r+ght +n most Aor
allB of !hat the# sa#: the ma=or+t# do not ta6e them ser+ousl#;
*.
' suggested 4as+- read+ng pa-6age -ould +n-lude: 5urr+lls Re)olution in the Church, Radical
3isciples, and The Re)olutioni>ed Church of the 2!st Century as 4a-6ground read+ng for la# m+n+str#
+n generalC 5e-6hams The $econd Reformation for a theolog+-al and S-r+ptural 4as+s for small
groupsC and 2all+sons The $mall ;roup 1eader for deta+led +nformat+on on sett+ng up and operat+ng
small groups +n the lo-al -hur-h; )+rst three ,olumes a,a+la4le through South 0ngland Conferen-e
AP2 Dept;B and 'd,ent+st 4oo6shops: last t!o through S;0;C; off+-e and lo-al Chr+st+an 4oo6shops;
**
Stat+st+-s +n 2all+son: The $mall ;roup 1eader, 9&
*9
16%
34%
34%
14.40%
2.60%
0% 10% 20% 30% 40%
RESISTANCE TO CHANGE
INNOVATORS
EARLY SUPPORTERS
SLOW JOINERS
VERY SLOW JOINERS
NEVER CHANGE
It +s from among the se-ond group - the %*;*M !ho !+ll =o+n the mo,ement for -hange
almost +mmed+atel# - that the 4est earl# supporters and persuaders should 4e -hosen;
The# are open-m+nded and progress+,e; The ma=or+t# of mem4ers +n the -hur-h trust
them;
Remem4er that -hange ma# -reate ,er# strong res+stan-e - that +n some -hur-hes there
are pro4a4l# su4stant+al num4ers !ho !+ll ne,er full# support an# rad+-all# ne!
,enture; 2an# -ongregat+ons ha,e 4een +n e/+sten-e for a long t+me and ha,e
de,eloped trad+t+onal approa-hes to !orsh+p: pra#er: 5+4le stud#: and e,er#th+ng else
the# do; Con-erned +nd+,+duals ma# see the ne! +deas +n terms of apostas# from the
truth; "e must 4e sens+t+,e to the op+n+ons and feel+ngs of those !ho d+sagree !+th us;
One o4,+ous reason !h# -hange must 4e gradual +s that e/+st+ng a-t+,+t+es and
programmes must -ont+nue !h+le the trans+t+on +s ta6+ng pla-e; ' se-ond reason +s that
trad+t+onal pastoral respons+4+l+t+es must st+ll 4e -atered for dur+ng that per+od: and
-annot 4e suddenl# +gnored; Chang+ng roles 4# 2&M ea-h #ear for f+,e #ears +s one !a#
to +mplement -hange at the pastoral le,el: as suggested +n the d+agram;
Becoming a Small-Group Church2 &astoral $esponsibilities
<ear % - 8&M -urrent respons+4+l+t+es: 2&M small groups
<ear 2 - &M -urrent respons+4+l+t+es: *&M small groups
<ear . - *&M -urrent respons+4+l+t+es: &M small groups
<ear ( - 2&M -urrent respons+4+l+t+es: 8&M small groups
<ear and on!ards a--ord+ng to lo-al s+tuat+on

B' Gain the appro.al of the church' 't least +n pr+n-+ple: the -hur-h must ha,e the
-han-e to d+s-uss and appro,e the plan to +ntrodu-e small group m+n+str#; Th+s ma#
ta6e some t+me: as the matter +s presented formall# +n ,ar+ous -omm+ttees APersonal
2+n+str+es: <outh: 5oard of 0lders: Chur-h 5oard: 5us+ness meet+ng et-;B and
+nformall# on other o--as+ons; No-one should 4eg+n small group meet+ngs se-retl# -
!+thout the 6no!ledge of the -hur-h and the pastor;
9' ,elp others catch the .ision' If the -hur-h +s to ma6e +ntell+gent and pos+t+,e
de-+s+ons a4out small groups: +t needs to 6no! the fa-ts; It +s helpful to:
(&
2a6e good read+ng mater+al a,a+la4le to -hur-h elders: 4oard mem4ers:
departmental leaders and mem4ers !+th small group leadersh+p potent+al; 2an#
-halleng+ng small group Dsu--ess stor+esE and manuals are o4ta+na4le su+ta4le
for th+s purpose;
Condu-t small group !or6shops; Tra+n+ng mater+als are no! a,a+la4le +n
pr+nted form: on ,+deo: and on aud+o tape;
'rrange for o--as+onal sermons to 4e prea-hed on related top+-s; ' ser+es on
the earl# -hur-h and the 4oo6 of '-ts: !h+le -hur-h mem4ers read 5urr+lls
4oo6: DThe Re,olut+on+sed Chur-h of the 2%st Centur#E -ould pro,e to 4e an
e/-+t+ng e/per+en-e;
In,+te +nd+,+duals !ho ha,e 4een 4lessed through small groups to -ome and
share the+r e/per+en-e !+th the -hur-h;
In-lude short promot+onal notes on small group m+n+str# +n the -hur-h 4ullet+n
and prepar+ng s+mple 4ut attra-t+,e posters for the not+-e4oard
'rrange for Sa44ath S-hool -lasses to o--as+onall# fun-t+on on small group
l+nes Aafter pr+or +nstru-t+on of tea-hersB;
De,elop a more small-group-or+ented approa-h to 4oard meet+ngs and other
-omm+ttees: allo!+ng a per+od of t+me for 5+4le stud#: pra#er: and shar+ng on a
personal le,el;
:' Identif0 specific areas of need !h+-h small groups -ould 4e des+gned to ser,e; 's
part of th+s pro-ess: ena4le the -hur-h to ta6e a ser+ous loo6 at +tself through a -hur-h-
l+fe !or6shop: -o,er+ng the four ma+n areas of nurture: !orsh+p: -ommun+t# and
m+ss+on; "e need to 6no! !hat !e are do+ng !ell: and !hat !e are not do+ng !ell: +f
!e are do+ng +t at all; Chur-hes !h+-h ha,e 4een esta4l+shed for man# #ears should 4e
-hallenged to redef+ne the+r m+ss+on and goals +n real+st+- and spe-+f+- terms;
(our #eading Iuestions to Identif0 !ission and Goals
%; D"here ha,e !e -ome from$E +;e; "h# !as th+s -hur-h started: and !hat has 4een
a-h+e,ed +n the past$
2; D"here are !e no!$E +;e; "hat 6+nd of -hur-h are !e$ ?o! !ell do !e 6no! ea-h
other$ "hat are !e do+ng$ Do !e l+6e !hat !e see$
.; D"here are !e go+ng$E +;e; "hat !ould !e l+6e to a-h+e,e !+th+n the ne/t
threeLf+,eLten #ears: and ho! -ould !e 4est a-h+e,e +t$
*; ?o! are !e go+ng to get from !here !e are to !here !e !ant to 4e$ +;e; "hat
-hanges must !e ma6e: !hat must !e do that !e are not do+ng: to ma6e the ,+s+on a
real+t#$
(%
5# +dent+f#+ng spe-+f+- areas of !ea6ness and need: and fa-+ng spe-+f+- -hallenges and
goals: mem4ers -an see more -learl# ho! small groups -an help to ma6e the -hur-h
!hat God reall# !ants +t to 4e;
*(
C' Set up a small group steering committee' Th+s -omm+ttee !+ll o,ersee the !hole
pro-ess of laun-h+ng and de,elop+ng small group m+n+str# +n the -hur-h; Three to f+,e
-reat+,e: ,+s+onar# people are suff+-+ent; Ideall# the pastor should 4e +n,ol,ed as the
o,erall leader-o-ord+nator of th+s m+n+str#: !h+le others -ould 4e -hosen from the
e/+st+ng -hur-h leadersh+p Aelders: Personal 2+n+str+es leader: <outh 1eader: et-;B
andLor +nterested and su+ta4l# g+fted la# mem4ers;
D' +rite a mission statement' "h+le +nd+,+dual groups should ha,e a -lear +dea of
!hat the# !ant to do: +t +s +mportant that small group leaders: !+th the steer+ng
-omm+ttee: prepare a small group statement for the lo-al -hur-h: !h+-h !+ll ser,e as an
o,erall gu+de for the future;
*

7' (orm small group leadership teams' The sele-t+on pro-ess should not 4e the
respons+4+l+t# of the Nom+nat+ng Comm+ttee: 4ut of the steer+ng -omm+ttee !ho should
e+ther:
aB sele-t leaders: ass+stant leaders and hostsLhostesses for ea-h team or
4B sele-t onl# the leaders and +n,+te them to -hoose the+r o!n leadersh+p teams;
'fter ta6+ng some of the steps alread# ment+oned: th+s should not 4e a d+ff+-ult tas6;
5ut remem4er that +t should 4e the -hur-h 4od# that appo+nts them and sets them as+de
for the+r spe-+al m+n+str#: leaders and groups are a--ounta4le to the -hur-h: not =ust a
-o-ord+nator or a -omm+ttee;
34' Start small' In most -hur-hes: three groups !ould 4e an +deal num4er to 4eg+n
!+th; In large -hur-hes: s+/ groups -ould start the pro-ess: !h+le +n small -hur-hes a
s+ngle group ma# 4e suff+-+ent;
33' Train leaders' The 4est form of +n+t+al tra+n+ng for small group leadersh+p teams +s
ga+ned +n a small group of the+r o!n: on-e the# ha,e ga+ned a 4as+- unserstand+ng of
small group m+n+str#; Three leadersh+p teams Aleaders: ass+stant leaders:
hostsLhostessesB !+th the pastor or tra+nerL-o-ord+nator -an form a small group
together: and learn the 4as+-s of small group d#nam+-s 4# role-pla# o,er a per+od of s+/
to e+ght !ee6s; 0,en +f there +s onl# one leadersh+p team to 4eg+n !+th: -reate a small
group !+th three or four add+t+onal people and learn 4# tr+al and error !h+le do+ng
some ser+ous stud# !+th a manual;
5ut remem4er that de,elop+ng small group leaders +s a s+m+lar pro-ess to de,elp+ng
pastors - there +s al!a#s room for +mpro,ement and gro!th; On-go+ng tra+n+ng should
therefore 4e pro,+ded;
*3
In the long term: !e should see group leaders as la# pastors;
Some Dleaders of tenE !+ll later 4e-ome Dleaders of f+ft#E or Dleaders of one hundred;E
The -hur-h pastor or other +nd+,+dual !+th o,erall respons+4+l+t# for small group
*(
See -ongregat+onal self-anal#s+s sur,e#: 'ppend+/ C;
*
See sample m+ss+on statement on page
*3
Gallo!a# l+sts f+ft# top+-s for +n-ser,+-e and on-the-=o4 tra+n+ng +n The $mall ;roup Book, 9*:9(
(2
m+n+str# should meet !+th group leaders for tra+n+ng at least monthl# on-e the groups
are up and runn+ng;
38' (orm core-groups of si5 to nine committed members -hosen and personall#
+n,+ted 4# mem4ers of the leadersh+p teams; There should 4e a ma/+mum of n+ne
-hur-h mem4ers +n a -ore group: +n-lud+ng the leadersh+p team: s+n-e there must also
4e room +n the small group for at least three non-'d,ent+st mem4ers;
Core groups should spend a m+n+mum of s+/ to e+ght !ee6s 4e-om+ng fam+l+ar !+th
small group l+fe: de,elop+ng a sense of group +dent+t#: and through pra#er and 5+4le
stud# de,elop+ng a sense of group m+ss+on - !hat God !+shes to a--ompl+sh through
the group: !ho the# m+ght +n,+te to =o+n them: et-; Some suggest that s+n-e th+s +s a
Dtr+alE stage: these groups should meet o,er a longer per+od so the# -an go 4e#ond the
Dhone#moonE stage and e/per+en-e the real+t+es A+n-lud+ng -onfl+-tB of group l+fe; Th+s
ma# 4e true: 4ut there +s also a danger +n spend+ng too mu-h t+me !+thout non-
'd,ent+sts present; The# !+ll help us more than an#one to learn !hat !e need to
6no!F
3A' Introduce friends' "ell 4efore -hur-h mem4ers +n,+te the+r fr+ends to the+r group:
the# should f+nd !a#s of +ntrodu-+ng them to at least t!o other -hur-h mem4ers +n the
group; A'nn+,ersar+es and other fam+l# -ele4rat+on e,ents are good opportun+t+es for
4r+ng+ng mem4ers and non-mem4ers together +n a non-rel+g+ous sett+ng; If a group
mem4er +s follo!+ng up a 5+4le stud# +nterest: one or t!o other group mem4ers -ould
=o+n +n on the ,+s+ts;B "hen fr+ends are +n,+ted to the+r f+rst group meet+ng: the# !+ll 4e
more l+6el# to a--ept the +n,+tat+on +f the# 6no! the# are alread# a->ua+nted !+th
others +n the group;
3B' Core groups in.ite friends' Small groups gro! as -hur-h mem4ers +n,+te non-
-hur-h mem4ers to =o+n them; The total num4er +n the group should not normall#
e/-eed t!el,e or th+rteen: and +deall# there should 4e at least t!o non-'d,ent+sts +n
ea-h group; Those !ho are +n,+ted !+ll generall# 4e:
People !ho attend -hur-h !ho ha,e not made a -omm+tment to Chr+st or
-hur-h mem4ersh+p
)r+ends and relat+,es alread# 6no!n to one or more -ore group mem4ers
through the sort of so-+al +ntera-t+on des-r+4ed des-r+4ed under P%.P a4o,e
People +n the -ommun+t# !ho ha,e made an +n+t+al -onta-t !+th the -hur-h
through a -onta-t or entr# e,ent: an e,angel+st+- -ampa+gn: a RD+s-o,erR or
I;O;P; 5+4le S-hool -ourse: et-;: et-;: and !ho: prefera4l#: ha,e alread#
4een +ntrodu-ed to one or t!o other mem4ers of the group
Ind+,+duals AChr+st+an or non-Chr+st+anB from an# of the -ategor+es l+sted
a4o,e !+th a 6no!n +nterest +n or need for the su4=e-t the group plans to
fo-us on: and !ho !+ll generall# 4e a4le to +dent+f# !+th the group as a
!hole;
(.
Th+s +s !here the ru44er meets the roadF 'nd a4solutel# noth+ng -an -ompare !+th the
=o# that the group !+ll e/per+en-e !hen real l+fe -hanges 4eg+n ta6+ng pla-e 4e-ause of
the+r small groupF
39' E.aluate' No -hur-h +s go+ng to get e,er#th+ng r+ght f+rst t+me; 0n-ourage
+nd+,+dual goups to e,aluate the+r e/per+en-e after -omplet+ng the f+rst un+t of 5+4le
stud+es - !hat the# d+d !ell: ho! the# m+ght +mpro,e: !hat !as mostLleast helpful: et-;
'nd as small groups +n-rease +n num4er: e,aluate the+r o,erall effe-t+,eness +n
a-h+e,+ng the o4=e-t+,es and goals of the -hur-h; 0,aluat+on: l+6e tra+n+ng: should 4e
on-go+ng;
*8
3:' Sta0 committed to the .ision' I+s+ons ha,e a tenden-# to fade: espe-+all# +n the
fa-e of oppos+t+on: or !hen there are man# other th+ngs to o--up# our attent+on;
1eaders must therefore fre>uentl# -lar+f# and 4u+ld the+r o!n ,+s+on: through read+ng:
med+tat+on and pra#er: and fre>uentl# rem+nd the -hur-h of +ts goals: through
prea-h+ng: test+mon#: and !or6shops: et-;
5e-ause of +ts +mportan-e: small group m+n+str# must 4e-ome the f+rst pr+or+t# on the
agenda of -ongregat+ons that are !or6+ng to!ards 4e-om+ng small-group -hur-hes;
Dont 4e d+s-ouraged +f pro4lems de,elop along the !a#; The de,+l 6no!s !hat small
groups -an do for #our -hur-h: so hes go+ng to !or6 aga+nst them; 5ut remem4er that
small groups are part of GodPs plan: so are 4ound to su--eed +n the end as !e follo!
the gu+dan-e ?e has g+,en;
3C' )e.elop a structure and strateg0 for gro/th' There +s pro4a4l# no 4etter
management stru-ture for the gro!+ng -hur-h to adopt than the one outl+ned +n
0/odus -hapter %8; 5ut gro!th !ont =ust happen 4# +tself; "h+le group mem4ers
should 4e en-ouraged to 4u+ld fr+endsh+ps !+th +nd+,+duals !hom the# -an +n,+te: other
support+ng programmes need to 4e 4u+lt +nto the -hur-h t+meta4le: +n-lud+ng:
+; Conta-t a-t+,+t+es: 4# !h+-h people +n the -ommun+t# ha,e the+r f+rst -onta-t
!+th the -hur-h; These m+ght +n-lude -on-erts: the @esus ,+deo pro=e-t:
l+terature e,angel+sm: e/h+4+t+ons: street !+tness+ng: rad+o programmes: !elfare
programmes and -ommun+t# ser,+-es of ,ar+ous 6+nds: ?ol+da# 5+4le S-hools:
-erta+n 6+nds of ne!spaper ad,ert+s+ng: 'DR' promot+on: et-; Conta-t
a-t+,+t+es ra+se a!areness of our e/+sten-e and -reate a pos+t+,e +mage of the
-hur-h: 4ut do not +n,ol,e people s+gn+f+-antl# +n !hat !e are do+ng;
++; 0ntr# e,ents: !h+-h ena4le people to enter +nto a -loser relat+onsh+p !+th
-hur-h mem4ers; These m+ght +n-lude -oo6er#: stress: fam+l# l+fe and other
sem+nars !h+-h e/tend o,er se,eral !ee6sC -ontemporar#: see6er-st#le ser,+-es
des+gned spe-+f+-all# to +ntrodu-e non-Chr+st+ans to the GospelC DD+s-o,erE
5+4le -ourse promot+on: Re,elat+on sem+nars Aalso a reap+ng e,entB: et-;
+++; Reap+ng e,ents: 4# !h+-h +nd+,+duals alread# attend+ng small groups: as !ell
as those !ho arent: -an 4e led to a de-+s+on; In man# -ases: people attend+ng
groups !+ll ma6e de-+s+ons for Chr+st and for -hur-h mem4ersh+p s+mpl#
*8
Sample >uest+onna+res for e,aluat+on and report+ng -an 4e found +n ,ar+ous manuals: +n-lud+ng
2all+son: The $mall ;roup 1eader, %33-%39C 2-5r+de: &ow to Build a $mall ;roup 0inistry,%98C
Donahue: 1ead+ng 1+fe-Chang+ng Small Groups: %.3-%*%;
(*
through the+r +n,ol,ement +n those groups: 4ut the larger -onte/t of a pu4l+-
e,angel+st+- meet+ng ma# 4e the ne-essar# -atal#st for others;
The gu+d+ng pr+n-+ple +n the de,elopment of su-h a gro!th strateg# +s that small group
m+n+str# +s no! at the -entre of -hur-h l+fe: not on the per+pher#; Th+s means that the
programmes l+sted a4o,e !+ll not ser+ousl# +ntrude on the t+me g+,en to small group
meet+ngs: so that the# fre>uentl# ha,e to 4e d+srupted !h+le other e,ents ta6e pla-e;
Suggested Timetable for a Church Beginning Small-Group !inistr0
2onth % Share small-group -on-ept !+th op+n+on leaders;
2onths 2:. Share -on-ept !+th the -hur-h through 4oard of elders: -hur-h
4oard: sem+nars and !or6shops: 4us+ness meet+ng;
2a6e read+ng mater+al: aud+o tapes and ,+deos a,a+la4le
Sele-t f+rst small group leaderLs;
2onths *:( 5u+ld and tra+n leadersh+p teams through +nstru-t+on and modell+ng;
1eadersh+p teams pra# for !+sdom +n -hoos+ng -ore group mem4ers;
2onths :3 1eadersh+p teams +n,+te other -hur-h mem4ers to form -ore groups;
5u+ld and tra+n -ore groups through +nstru-t+on and tra+n+ng;
Core group mem4ers use so-+al e,ents as opportun+t+es to +ntrodu-e
the+r non-'d,ent+st fr+ends to other -ore group mem4ers;
2onth 8 Core group mem4ers +n,+te non-'d,ent+st fr+ends to =o+n;
b- Small Groups and Church &lanting
Small groups are +deall# su+ted for plant+ng ne! -hur-hes +n unentered areas or among
ne! people groups; The great ad,antage of start+ng !+th th+s method +s that th+s
naturall# 4e-omes the modus operandus of the ne! -hur-h as +t de,elopes; 'nd there
are no esta4l+shed trad+t+ons to 4e -hanged;
There ma# or ma# not 4e 'd,ent+sts +n the area to ass+st !+th su-h a pro=e-t: 4ut +n
e+ther -ase a s+m+lar strateg# -an 4e follo!ed; 2an# of the pr+n-+ples outl+ned a4o,e
for trans+t+on+ng e/+st+ng -hur-hes appl# also +n th+s s+tuat+on: 4ut the follo!+ng
add+t+onal gu+del+nes appl#:
3' Identif0 the target group and meet their needs' 'lthough the Gospel +s for
e,er#one: !e ha,e d+s-o,ered that e,er#one -annot 4e rea-hed at the same t+me and
!+th the same methods; D+fferent people ha,e d+fferent needs: and respond to d+fferent
programmes; "e !+ll ha,e more su--ess +n the long-term +f !e target spe-+f+- groups
of people and 4u+ld a -hur-h su+ted to the+r needs;
So - shall !e target people !ho are alread# Chr+st+ans: or people !ho ha,e no
6no!ledge of Chr+st$ Shall !e target fam+l+es !+th #oung -h+ldren or older people:
students or 4us+nesspeople$ On-e !e ha,e de-+ded to !hom our m+n+str# +s to 4e
d+re-ted: !e should ta6e t+me to 4e-ome a->ua+nted !+th the needs of the group; The
((
needs of the target group !+ll determ+ne the small group programme: and e,entuall#
the form the -hur-h !+ll ta6e Athe 6+nd of mus+- +t uses: the nature of the !orsh+p
ser,+-e: et-;B Ro4ert 1ogan summar+ses the +mportan-e of th+s approa-h to m+n+str# +n
th+s !a#:
The successful church of the twenty*first century and beyond will be one that
learns how to listen to people, establishes a culturally rele)ant philisophy of
ministry, and adapts its ministry strategies to their e)er*changing needs.
9E
8' !ake disciples first' The pr+mar# goal of small group m+n+str# +s the ma6+ng of
Chr+st+an d+s-+ples; Part+-ularl# +n a -hur-h plant+ng s+tuat+on: !e should not 4e +n too
mu-h of a hurr# to Dget to the do-tr+nes;E The +mmed+ate a+m: after fr+endsh+ps ha,e
4een esta4l+shed: +s to get as man# people together as poss+4le: meet+ng +n small groups
for the stud# of the 5+4le and the 4u+ld+ng of relat+onsh+ps; On-e that +s happen+ng:
other th+ngs !+ll follo!;
A' Start small' It ma# seem eas+est to s+mpl# gather as man# 'd,ent+sts together from
other -ongregat+ons to Dstart a ne! -hur-hE 4ut +n real+t# that +s not start+ng a ne!
-hur-h at all - +t +s s+mpl# transplant+ng an old one; Import+ng a read#-made
-ongregat+on also means +mport+ng a trad+t+onal approa-h to m+n+str#: the need for re-
edu-at+on: and res+stan-e to -hange; ' small num4er of -hur-h mem4ers -omm+tted to
lea,+ng the+r old -hur-h permanentl# - and ma#4e e,en mo,+ng house and -hang+ng =o4
- to help plant a ne! -hur-h: +s 4etter than ha,+ng a larger num4er +n,ol,ed !ho later
on ma# prefer to return to the+r home -hur-h;
A' !ake Sabbath ser.ices rele.ant' "e ha,e a trad+t+onal approa-h to Sa44ath
!orsh+p ser,+-es !h+-h ser,es us !ell +n most s+tuat+ons; In a -hur-h-plant+ng s+tuat+on:
ho!e,er: Sa44ath ser,+-es !+ll 4e more effe-t+,e +f the# ta6e the form of sem+nars:
!or6shops: !h+le num4ers are st+ll small: or e,angel+st+--st#le meet+ngs +f num4ers are
larger; "orsh+pL-ele4rat+on t#pe ser,+-es !h+-h +n-lude more -ongregat+onal s+ng+ng
and part+-+pat+on: should follo! later; ASee add+t+onal -omments on th+s +n -hapter s+/
under se-t+on on RGlo4al m+ss+on -hur-h plant+ng pro=e-ts;RB
*9
Ro4ert 1ogan: Beyond Church ;rowth AGrand Rap+ds: 2I: )lem+ng ?; Re,ell: %99(B: 3*;
(
Leader shi p
It was our custom to serve communion on the first 2unday of every month" &e set
it up on a table where people could come up, take the elements, and then go back to
their seats"#he entire proceedure was dependent on getting the first person started
right so that everyone would follow in the proper order" #he system worked
wonderfully most of the time" +owever, there were e-ceptions"
;ne 2unday morning, everyone stood" #he first person took a step and everyone
followed him" Fnfortunately, that first person was headed for the bathroom" #he
entire first row followed him" It wasn1t until the second and third rows were stacked
up behind them that they figured out they were headed in the worng directionB
G=
(&
Gallo!a#: The $mall ;roup Book, !=.
(3
Chapter Eight
SMALL GROUP LEADERS
'e lo)ed you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only
the ;ospel of ;od but our li)es as well, because you had become
so dear to us. 6% Thessalonians 28D N%#<
h# do small groups need leaders$ It m+ght seem a strange >uest+on to as6:
4ut +t +s somet+mes suggested that a small group doesnt need to ha,e a
part+-ular leader - small groups run themsel,es and De,er#one -an ta6e +t +n
turn;E "ell: some groups ha,e tr+ed do+ng +t that !a#: and +t doesnt !or6;
"
In h+s small group leadersh+p tra+n+ng -ourse: Col+n 2arshall addresses the Dm#th of
the leaderless group:E and po+nts out that +n fa-t: there +s no su-h th+ng as a group
!+thout a leader: and !here a leader +s not appo+nted: Dan# 6+nd of group !+ll generate
+ts o!n leadersh+p;E
(%
The Dm#th of the leaderless groupE a-tuall# stems +n part from the fear that some
leaders !+ll dom+nate the+r groups and stand +n the !a# of free and open shar+ng
4et!een groups mem4ers - the ,er# th+ng small groups are supposed to pro,+de; So
the# do need leaders: !ell--hosen and !ell-tra+ned; "+thout them: small groups !+ll
(%
Col+n 2arshall: ;rowth ;roups8 + Training Course in &ow to 1ead $mall ;roups AJ+ngsford:
NS": 'ustral+a: 2atth+as 2ed+a: %99(B: 39
(8
tend to 4e unsta4le: la-6+ng d+re-t+on and long-term mot+,at+on; 0,en !orse: the#
-ould end up 4e+ng leader-dom+natedF
Remem4er: small groups are not +ntended to 4e -asual: unstru-tured gather+ngs of
Chr+st+ans !ho s+mpl# en=o# meet+ng together for one a-t+,+t# or anotherC the# are to
4e part of the transform+ng m+n+str# of the -hur-h; The# are the means through !h+-h
the la+t# Athe people of GodB -an fulf+ll the m+n+str# for !h+-h God has orda+ned them:
and +n these da#s 4e-ome part of the f+nal reformat+on needed +n the -hur-h: !+thout
!h+-h +t -annot fulf+ll +ts m+ss+on +n the !orld; Small groups -an help ta6e the -hur-h
from !here !e are to !here God !ants us to 4e; 'nd that re>u+res leadersh+p;
It ma# !ell 4e that +n the 'd,ent+st -ongregat+on of the future: the most +nfluent+al
people +n +ts l+fe--hang+ng m+n+str#: along !+th pastors and elders: !+ll 4e small group
leaders; Perhaps small group leaders !+ll 4e the -hur-h elders; )or sure: small group
leaders !+ll 4e -hur-h leaders +n the fullest sense of the !ord;
Iualities of small group leaders
The Ne! Testament prof+le of -hur-h leaders des-r+4ed +n Pauls letters to T+moth#
and T+tus AI T+moth# .:%-%.C (:%3-2(C T+tus %:(-%B +n-ludes the follo!+ng rele,ant
>ual+f+-at+ons:
the# should not 4e re-ent -on,erts: 4ut mature +n the fa+th
the# should 4e 6no!n for the+r -ons+stent Chr+st+an l+fest#le and Chr+stl+6e
4eha,+our
the# should 4e gentle
the# should 4e hosp+ta4le
the# should 4e thoroughl# fam+l+ar !+th Chr+sts tea-h+ng
the# should 4e a4le to tea-h
Small group leaders: then: as -hur-h leaders: should 4e 4oth e/ample and tea-her
!+th+n the group;
a- The small group leader as e5ample; S+n-e the f+rst purpose of small groups +s to
de,elop d+s-+ples: the leader should 4e an e/ample of a d+s-+ple among other d+s-+ples;
"ho >ual+f+es$ )ortunatel# for us: @esus -hose ?+s f+rst f+rst t!el,e d+s-+ples from
among ord+nar# people: =ust as the# !ere; The# all had the+r faults; 5ut e,en as the#
!ere gro!+ng +n d+s-+plesh+p: the# !ere -omm+ss+oned to -ont+nue the !or6 that @esus
4egan; Thats en-ourag+ng for toda#s d+s-+ples; 's e/amples to the+r groups: group
leaders -annot -la+m and should not pretend to 4e perfe-t: 4ut -an -onf+dentl# -la+m to
4e s+nners sa,ed 4# the mat-hless gra-e of God;
Chr+st+an leaders ha,e the+r faults; The# ha,e the+r struggles: the+r dou4ts: the+r
d+s-ouragements and the+r fears; 5ut the# ha,e someth+ng else 4es+des: that helps them
to deal !+th these th+ngs - that helps them to p+-6 themsel,es up !hen the# fall:
+nsp+res them to r+se a4o,e the+r fa+lures: and g+,es d+re-t+on to the+r l+,es e,en +n the
m+dst of the+r dou4ts; That someth+ng: of -ourse: +s @esus;
I ment+on th+s here 4e-ause small groups depend on authent+- leaders for the+r
effe-t+,eness; People are not +mpressed and !ont follo! phon+es; 'uthent+- leaders
a-6no!ledge 4oth the+r s+nfulness and the forg+,eness of God AI @ohn %:8:9B; 0,er#one
6no!s that the s+n pro4lems +s un+,ersalC to den# +t ma6es us l+ars; "hat people !ant
(9
to 6no! +s ho! to deal !+th +t; Small group leaders must 4e a4le to po+nt su-h people
+n the r+ght d+re-t+on;
1eaders: then: dont ha,e to 4e perfe-t; 5ut as the 5+4le sa#s: D1o,e -o,ers o,er a
mult+tude of s+ns;E AI Peter *:8B Its not surpr+s+ng: then: that effe-t+,e small-group
leaders are lo,+ng people; In fa-t !e m+ght sa# that the# ha,e three great lo,es +n the+r
l+,es2
The0 lo.e Gesus and are se-ure enough +n the+r relat+onsh+p !+th ?+m that
the# dont need the leadersh+p pos+t+on for the+r +dent+t#; The# ha,e a -lear:
s+mple stor# to tell of !hat he has done +n the+r l+,es;
The0 lo.e people and -an relate !ell !+th them' That doesnt ne-essar+l#
mean that the# !+ll 4e e/tro,ert: Dl+fe of the part#E so-+al+sers; It does mean
the# -are for others: are sens+t+,e to the+r needs: and -an -ommun+-ate !+th
them on a sp+r+tual le,el: a+m+ng to refle-t Gods un-ond+t+onal lo,e for us;
The# are sho-6-proof: and the# ha,e a 6+ndl# sense of humour;
The0 lo.e the church and the# pro4a4l# donPt see themsel,es as >ual+f+ed
to lead +t; Ne,ertheless the# are enthus+ast+- a4out !hat +t stands for: and
are !+ll+ng to g+,e the+r 4est for +t;
Su-h g+,+ng of oursel,es +s +mportant; Group leaders 4e !+ll+ng to share the+r o!n
l+,es: as !ell as the Gospel; Th+s !as part of Pauls approa-h to m+n+str#:
(2
and !as no
dou4t one reason for h+s su--ess; 5e#ond that: group leaders must DleadE 4# e/ample
+n the !a# that that the# e/pe-t group mem4ers to part+-+pate and relate !+th ea-h
other; If the# e/pe-t them to 4e aff+rm+ng: a,a+la4le: open: honest: and sens+t+,e: et-;:
to!ard ea-h other Aas des-r+4ed +n part four of th+s manualB leaders must 4e !+ll+ng to
DmodelE these ,alues also;
Th+s +s one of the most -r+t+-al areas of small group leadersh+p; 0spe-+all# dur+ng the
f+rst fe! meet+ngs of a ne! group: +ts mem4ers !+ll pro4a4l# 4e ret+-ent to sa# too
mu-h a4out themsel,es; If one person Ae;g; the leaderB shares a personal e/per+en-e:
ho!e,er: others !+ll read+l# follo!: and the pattern for the future d#nam+-s of the
group !+ll >u+-6l# 4e esta4l+shed;
b- The small group leader as teacher' 0ffe-t+,e tea-h+ng +n a small group -onte/t
+n,ol,es t!o s6+lls: understand+ng and -ommun+-at+on;
%nderstanding' Small group leaders are not e/pe-ted to 6no! all the ans!ers: and
the# should ne,er g+,e the +mpress+on that the# do; So !h+le 4e+ng a tea-her: the group
leader +s also a learner: eager to learn from others +n the group: and en-ourag+ng
ma/+mum part+-+pat+on; The 4est group learn+ng ta6es pla-e: as !e ha,e alread# seen:
as e,er# mem4er of the group share together the+r >uest+ons: +ns+ghts: and e/per+en-es;
?o!e,er: leaders must ha,e a good: all-round understand+ng of S-r+pture: +ts
4a-6ground and stru-ture: +ts 4as+- tea-h+ngs: and +ts great themes; In fa-t +t +s an
understand+ng of the great themes of the 5+4le that ma6e 5+4le stud#: espe-+all# +n
groups: so e/-+t+ng and -halleng+ng; 5e+ng a4le to defend our t!ent#-se,en
fundamental 5+4le do-tr+nes +s one th+ngC 4e+ng a4le to relate the S-r+ptures to the
o,erall s-heme of th+ngs: f+t +ts tea-h+ngs together as p+e-es of a d+,+ne =+g-sa! puHHle:
&
and relate them to the mu-h larger -hallenge of 6no!+ng !ho God +s and relat+ng to
?+m personall#: +s another;
Communication' It ma# 4e stat+ng the
o4,+ous to sa# that the a4+l+t# of leaders to
tea-h +s largel# dependent on the+r a4+l+t#
to -ommun+-ate; 5ut there +s more to +t
than that; 0,en though the# are tea-h+ng
through d+s-uss+on: leaders must 4e a4le to
gu+de the group through poss+4le -onfl+-t
to r+ght -on-lus+ons; Commun+-at+on
+n,ol,es 4oth the g+,+ng of useful
+nformat+on: and the 4u+ld+ng of 4r+dges to
ena4le others to re-e+,e and pro-ess that
+nformat+on; In pra-t+-al terms: a--ord+ng
to Col+n 2arshall: whether people
understand what we say depends to a
great e4tent on how they )iew us and how
they feel toward us. 5reconceptions,
biases and attitudes all act as filters of
communication and dsistort the message
sent and recei)ed.
:2
Commun+-at+on: as the a4o,e d+agram
(.
sho!s: +s more than !ords; "hat !e sa# +s less
+mportant that ho! !e sa# +t; 5od#-language - fa-+al e/press+on: e#e mo,ements:
lean+ng for!ard or 4a-6!ard: et-; et-; - +s e,en more +mportant; 5ut !ho !e are +s the
most +mportant language of all: as !e ma6e oursel,es 6no!n 4# our att+tudes: !ords
and a-t+ons -om4+ned;
"e 4u+ld -ommun+-at+on 4arr+ers !hen !e ma6e oursel,es out to 4e someth+ng !e are
not: assume a super+or le,el of +mportan-e: and e/h+4+t a -ondes-end+ng or patron+s+ng
att+tude to!ard those around us; On the other hand !e 4u+ld 4r+dges !hen !e ta6e
t+me to learn and use peoples names: ta6e a genu+ne +nterest +n the+r l+,es outs+de of
group meet+ngs: g+,e them a genu+ne sense of 4e+ng +mportant to us: get +n,ol,ed !+th
the +nformal -on,ersat+on dur+ng refreshments: and -on,e# the +dea a4out oursel,es
that D!hat #ou see +s ho! I am;E
It +s s+gn+f+-ant +n th+s -onne-t+on that +n Pauls -ounsel to T+moth# regard+ng leaders:
he pla-es Da4le to tea-hE ne/t to Dgentle and pea-eful;E AI T+moth# .:2:.B; ' small
group leader does not for-e people to part+-+pate: 4ut gentl# see6s to dra! them +n;
The small group leader*s Eob description' 5e#ond the roles of e/ample and tea-her:
the small group leader usuall# -arr+es the follo!+ng spe-+f+- respons+4+l+t+es:
aB -ares for the groups o,erall goals: agenda and gro!th +n lo,e and un+t#
4B leads +n 5+4le stud#: 4ut often shares th+s !+th others
-B +dent+f+es a4+l+t+es and g+fts +n others and f+nds !a#s to use them +n group
m+n+str#
(2
+4+d: 39;
(.
2all+son: The $mall ;roup 1eader, BB
%
NON-I0R5'1 ((-(M
)'CI'1 0GPR0SSION:
5OD< 1'NGU'G0B
IOC'1 .8M ATON0:
02P?'SIS: IN)10CTIONB
I0R5'1 3M
The MESSAE is!!!
dB manages -onfl+-t !+th+n the group
eB de,elops a!areness of the sp+r+tual state of ea-h group mem4er: !hether
Chr+st+an or non-Chr+st+an: and see6s to fa-+l+tate gro!th
fB !or6s +n -onsultat+on !+th -hur-h pastor and others to deal !+th matters
4e#ond the s-ope of the group
gB -ommun+-ates the a+ms and ,+s+on of the group !+th the larger -hur-h: and
those of the larger -hur-h !+th the group !here appropr+ate
hB 6eeps the goal of gro!th through -on,ers+on fresh +n the m+nds of mem4ers:
or delegates th+s respons+4+l+t# to someone else
+B tra+ns ass+stant leader for read+ness to assume leadersh+p +n ne! group
=B !or6s as a team !+th the hostFhostess; Th+s person should 4e someone !ho
demonstrates a genu+ne -are for people: and the a4+l+t# to put people at ease;
?eLshe +s respons+4le for one or more of the follo!+ng: a--ord+ng to a4+l+t# and
t+me a,a+la4le Adut+es not underta6en 4# the hostLhostess should 4e delegated to
other group mem4ers: not -arr+ed 4# the group leaderB:
!el-om+ng group mem4ers
lead+ng the D+-e-4rea6erE or +n+t+al shar+ng per+od
the pra#er m+n+str# of the group
general pastoral -are of mem4ers
Too hot to handle? 'll that has 4een sa+d +n terms of group leaders >ual+f+-at+ons and
respons+4+l+t+es ma# =ust loo6 too daunt+ng: and !ould-4e leaders -ould eas+l# 4e
d+s-ouraged from e,en tr#+ng; The -onsolat+on +s that e,er#one -alled 4# God to lead
feels the same !a#F "e should remem4er that the de,elopment of small group m+n+str#
+s all a4out open+ng real m+n+str# to the Dord+nar#E Chr+st+an; 'nd God lo,es ta6+ng
ord+nar# th+ngs and do+ng e/traord+nar# th+ngs !+th them;
2
!ike a Hamily
2heila was one of eight students who had met each week for a year as a Christian
small group at Fniversity" ?uring one of the first meetings the following year, she
decided to share her story"
EI need to tell you whatDs been going on with me and my parents, because youDre
my family,E 2heila began" 2urrounded by the friends she now regarded as her
brothers and sisters in Christ, she continuedC EIDve been having therapy for the past
few weeks because IDve finally decided to face up to what happened when I was a
little girl ) my father molested me" I have to confront my parents, and I need you to
pray for me"E
2he sat on a seat in the middle of the room, and we gathered round her" #hose
nearest to her placed their hands on her shoulders" 2ome could not hold back the
tears as they prayed for her and her parents" 2everal weeks later, while 2heila
talked with her parents in the office of her therapist, we gathered in a home to
pray" &hen 2heila joined us after the session, she cried at first" 2he told us what
had happened, and thanked us for supporting her"
&e had not only become her spiritual family, but in some ways were functioning
more effectively than the family she grew up in" 2usan was part of a community"
G<
Chapter Nine
S!"## G$O%& !EETINGS
(*
'dapted from the stor# told 4# N+na Th+el: +n @+mm# 1ong: $mall ;roup 1eadersH &andbook,
.9:*&;
.
They de)oted themsel)es to the apostles, teaching and to the fellowship,
to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 6+cts 2892 N%#<
" t0pical small group meeting !+ll normall# last from one hour to an hour and a half:
and !h+le +n man# respe-ts there should 4e no su-h th+ng as a Dt#p+-alE small group
meet+ng Ama# the# ne,er 4e pred+-ta4le: Dsame as usualE e,entsB: -erta+n deta+ls !+ll
feature +n most meet+ngs;
The pla-e of meet+ng !+ll usuall# 4e a house: rather than the -hur-h; The lounge +s the
most su+ta4le room: !+th -ha+rs and perhaps floor -ush+ons arranged +n the sem4lan-e
of a -+r-le; Some groups prefer to s+t around a ta4le +n the d+n+ng room;The room !+ll
4e -omforta4l# !arm Anot too hot: not too -oldB and !ell-,ent+lated;
's guests arr+,e: the# are !arml# !el-omed 4# the hostLhostess; Refreshments are
ser,ed +f people ha,e -ome stra+ght from !or6 or for other reasons !ould !el-ome a
hot or -old dr+n6; The hostLhostess +nformall# +ntrodu-es those attend+ng for the f+rst
t+me: and -reates a fr+endl#: rela/ed atmosphere as group mem4ers -hat together
4efore the meet+ng proper starts;
2eet+ng formats ,ar# 4et!een groups: 4ut all follo! a -erta+n 4as+- outl+ne: +n-lud+ng
an +-e-4rea6er e/-er-+se of some 6+nd to 4eg+n !+th: 5+4le stud# and Ausuall#B pra#er:
and refreshments; 2an# groups also +n-lude a spe-+f+- per+od of t+me for pra+se and
!orsh+p through s+ng+ng;
't the -lose of the meet+ng: deta+ls of the follo!+ng !ee6s meet+ng are shared: along
!+th an# other group a-t+,+t+es planned;
No! lets ta6e a -loser loo6 at the essent+al parts of a small group meet+ng;
a- The Ice-Breaker
The meet+ng 4eg+ns !+th ten to t!ent# m+nutes of shar+ng !+th+n the group: 4ased
e+ther on a pre-prepared +-e-4rea6er
((
>uest+on or t!o: or s+mpl# on group mem4ers
e/per+en-es dur+ng the pre,+ous !ee6; Th+s R!arm-upR per+od +s a ,er# +mportant part
of e,er# small-group meet+ng: and !e must res+st the temptat+on to Rget +nto the 5+4le
stud#R as >u+-6l# as poss+4le; Pre-prepared >uest+ons are useful: espe-+all# dur+ng the
f+rst fe! !ee6s of a ne! small groups l+fe: 4e-ause:
the# ena4le e,er#one Ae,en the most sh#B to sa# someth+ng
the# are often l+ghthearted: so the# help the group to rela/
the# help mem4ers get to 6no! ea-h other on a more than superf+-+al le,el
the# -an pro,+de an +ntrodu-t+on to the 5+4le stud# top+-
((
)or a sample l+st of +-e-4rea6er >uest+ons: see 'ppend+/ ';
*
The +-e-4rea6er se-t+on ma# !ell 4e led 4# the hostLhostess of the group: although
other group mem4ers -an share th+s respons+4+l+t#;
b- The Bible Stud0
Th+s ma# last for .& - *( m+nutes Aor more +f the group has pre,+ousl# agreed on a
longer t+me per+odB: and !+ll 4e led 4# e+ther the group leader: or one or more group
mem4ers appo+nted 4eforehand;
' large num4er of pre-prepared 5+4le stud# gu+des are a,a+la4le
.%
!h+-h ta6e a lot of
hard !or6 out of preparat+on; The# -o,er most le,els of 5+4le stud#: from ,er# s+mple
+ntrodu-tor# stud+es on the 4as+-s of Chr+st+an+t#: to ad,an-ed stud+es for more
6no!ledgea4le groups; The# also -o,er a !+de range of top+-s; Se,eral gu+des ha,e
4een spe-+f+-all# des+gned for a group to use for the+r f+rst s+/ or e+ght meet+ngs: to
help mem4ers get to 6no! ea-h other and 4u+ld relat+onsh+ps among them; These
s+mple gu+des help people to 4e-ome fam+l+ar !+th the st#le and d#nam+-s of relat+onal
5+4le stud#: and I strongl# re-ommend them to ne! groups and ne! group leaders;
't the start of the 5+4le stud#: e,er# mem4er of the group should 4e g+,en a -op# of
the outl+ne: and pens or pen-+ls should 4e made a,a+la4le +f !r+tten ans!ers are
re>u+red; A5+4le stud# gu+des ,ar#: 4ut -ome !+th full +nstru-t+ons for the leader;B In
most -ases: 5+4le te/ts are +n-luded +n full: so 5+4les are not needed: and non-
Chr+st+ans are spared the em4arrassment of not 6no!+ng !here to loo6 for a te/t;
If #ou de-+de to use some of these pre-prepared mater+als +n #our group: donPt th+n6
there +s noth+ng for #ou to do 4efore the meet+ng; Stud# leaders must al!a#s 4e !ell-
prepared: e,en +f th+s means s+mpl# go+ng o,er the outl+ne +n deta+l and ma6+ng sure
that #ou are fam+l+ar !+th the su4=e-t and the a+m of the stud#;
Groups !h+-h -hoose to do !+thout pre-prepared mater+al should guard aga+nst a too
-asual: unfo-used approa-h to 5+4le stud#: e,en though the D5+4le onl#E method +s
pro4a4l# the 4est for a4le and e/per+en-ed leaders; The Serend+p+t# 5+4le
(
+s e/-ellent
for th+s purpose: +t -ons+sts of the NII 5+4le te/t: and plent# of small-group st#le
>uest+ons +n the marg+ns - r+ght from Genes+s to Re,elat+on; 's a general rule: a short
passage of S-r+pture - not more than a -hapter - +s 4etter than a long passage for ea-h
group meet+ng; 2an# s+ngle -hapters -an 4e stud+ed more than on-e;
0a-h person +n the group should ha,e a 5+4le; )or groups that !+sh to -reate a DsafeE
en,+ronment for un-hur-hed people: a -ontemporar# 0ngl+sh ,ers+on should 4e used:
su-h as the Good Ne!s 5+4le or the Ne! Internat+onal Iers+on; The -hur-h should
pur-hase a num4er of +dent+-al 5+4les for th+s purpose: so that page num4ers for the
te/ts -an 4e g+,en rather than the referen-es; On-e a group +s fam+l+ar !+th the 5+4le: +t
+s an ad,antage +f d+fferent mem4ers use d+fferent translat+ons; No-one should 4e as6ed
to read aloud unt+l +t +s >u+te o4,+ous that the person +s free and !+ll+ng to do so;
Unless the group +s follo!+ng a ,er# 4as+- outl+ne: group mem4ers should 4e
en-ouraged to do a -erta+n amount of home!or6 4et!een meet+ngs; Read+ng the
ass+gned passage e,er# da# 4et!een meet+ngs +s a good form of home!or6; D+fferent
+nd+,+duals -an 4e as6ed to resear-h and share f+nd+ngs on small segments of the
passage;
(
The N%# $erendipity Bible for $tudy ;roups, US': Konder,an Pu4l+sh+ng ?ouse: +s a,a+la4le from
Chr+st+an 4oo6shops;
(
"hate,er the approa-h to 5+4le stud#: the top+- for a g+,en per+od of t+me should 4e
-hosen 4# the group or -ore group: not =ust the leader; In summar#: 5+4le stud# +n
small groups should a+m to 4e:
relat+onal - des+gned to 4u+ld relat+onsh+ps: not =ust pass on +nformat+on
rele,ant to group mem4ers needs and +nterests
-halleng+ng: +ntended to -hange l+,es
memora4le - leaders should use tea-h+ng a+ds su-h as fl+p -harts: OL?
pro=e-tor et-
-reat+,e - there are more !a#s than one to stud# S-r+pture

The right kind of Juestions
Good >uest+ons are essent+al to d#nam+- small group 5+4le stud#; '-tuall#: there are
onl# t!o 4as+- >uest+ons +n,ol,ed +n relat+onal 5+4le stud#; The f+rst +s a >uest+on for
the m+nd: and +t as6s: 'hat is the Bible actually saying( 'll true 5+4le stud# must
as6 th+s >uest+on; Often !+th the help of ,ar+ous 5+4le stud# a+ds: the a+m +s to d+s-o,er
!hat a-tuall# happened: !hat God !as a-tuall# sa#+ng at the t+me: to !hom ?e !as
sa#+ng +t: and !h#;
The se-ond >uest+on +s for the heart: and +t as6s: I'hat is ;od saying to meJus
through this scripture(I 5+4le stud# !+ll ma6e no d+fferen-e to our l+,es or
ourrelat+onsh+ps - !+th God or !+th other people - +f !e do not appl# +t; Through
relat+onal 5+4le stud# !e learn to as6 su-h >uest+ons as: I'here am % in this story(I
I+ccording to this passage, what does ;od want mt to feelJsayJdo in order for myJour
relationship with &im and with each other to grow(I
The t!o 4as+- >uest+ons ment+oned a4o,e !+ll: of -ourse: 4e as6ed +n man# d+fferent
!a#s; Other >uest+ons !+ll also 4e used to -reate d+alogue and d+s-uss+on; Good
>uest+ons for th+s purpose +n-lude those that are:
aB Open-ended: not -losed Ae;g;E"hat +s +n,ol,ed +n 4e-om+ng a d+s-+ple$E
not E"hat are the four steps !e must ta6e to 4e-ome a d+s-+ple$EB
4B Not lead+ng - the# dont suggest the ans!er Ae;g; D"hat +s th+s ,erse sa#+ng
a4out @esus$E not D@esus !as the 2ess+ah: !asnt ?e$EB
-B S+ngular: not mult+ple Ae;g; "h# +s +t +mportant to 4e 4apt+sed$E not D"hat
does +t mean to 4e 4apt+sed: !h# +s +t +mportant: and !hat -an !e learn from
the 4apt+sm of @esus$EB
dB S+mple: not -omple/; 7uest+ons ma# 4e profound: 4ut the# shouldnt 4e
unne-essar+l# -ompl+-ated Ae;g; D"hats !rong !+th =ust 6eep+ng the rules +n
order to 4e sa,ed$E not DIn Pauls letter to the Galat+ans: !hat theolog+-al
pro4lem d+d he +mpl# those f+rst -entur# Chr+st+ans !ere struggl+ng !+th +n
terms of the relat+onsh+p 4et!een =ust+f+-at+ons and san-t+f+-at+on$EB
In relat+onal d#nam+-s: e,en !hen group mem4ers as6 >uest+ons: the leader ought not
to ans!er them; The leaders tas6 +s to lead - lead the group to d+s-o,er truth and ga+n
+ns+ght 4# th+n6+ng and !or6+ng th+ngs out for themsel,es; Often: the 4est !a# to

ans!er a >uest+on: or to go deeper +nto a pre,+ous >uest+on: +s to as6 another >uest+on:


us+ng:
%B 0/tend+ng >uest+ons AD"ould #ou l+6e to sa# an#th+ng else a4out that$R or
RCould #ou go +nto a 4+t more deta+l$B
2B Clar+f#+ng >uest+ons ADCould #ou e/pla+n that a 4+t more full#$ "hat do #ou
mean 4# that$EB
.B @ust+f#+ng >uest+ons AD"h# do #ou th+n6 that +s true$EB
*B Re-d+re-t+ng >uest+ons AD"hat does the rest of the group th+n6$E D@ane: !hat
do #ou th+n6Lfeel a4out th+s$RB
(B Refle-t+ng >uest+ons ADThats an +nterest+ng po+nt; 're #ou sa#+ng that;;;;$EB
0/-ellent mater+al on de,elop+ng good >uest+on s6+lls -an 4e found +n se,eral small
group manuals: su-h as the "+llo! Cree6 gu+de;
(3

c- &ra0er
't least ten m+nutes !+ll 4e set as+de for pra#er: usuall# after the 5+4le stud#; Some
groups !+ll regularl# !ant to spend mu-h longer than th+sC !+th other groups +t ma#
4e-ome apparent to the leader dur+ng a part+-ular meet+ng that more t+me +s needed for
pra#er than usual: so the t+me g+,en to 5+4le stud# ma# 4e shortenedC !+th st+ll other
groups: su-h as those =ust 4eg+nn+ng !+th se,eral non-Chr+st+an guests: there ma# 4e no
pra#er at all dur+ng the meet+ng;
The pra#er t+me +n small group meet+ngs -an 4e led 4# the hostLhostess or another
des+gnated pra#er m+n+str# leader: and there +s ad,antage +n the pra#er leader 6eep+ng a
!r+tten re-ord A=ournalB of pra#er re>uests and ans!ers;
Pra#er +n small groups -an follo! a ,ar+et# of forms: +n-lud+ng
+; Con,ersat+onal pra#er: !h+-h +s pro4a4l# the most popular: and the 4est
su+ted to small group d#nam+-s and ,alues; Con,ersat+onal pra#er +s e/a-tl#
that - a -on,ersat+on 4et!een the mem4ers of the group and God; It -ons+sts of
a s+ngle pra#er !+th one 4eg+nn+ng and one end+ng; 'll !ho !+sh to -an ma6e
short -ontr+4ut+ons to the pra#er on-e or se,eral t+mes as the pra#er leader
+ntrodu-es d+fferent aspe-ts of pra#er su-h as adorat+on: than6sg+,+ng:
-onfess+on and pet+t+on; The pra#er leader ends the pra#er !+th D'men;E
In -on,ersat+onal pra#er: spo6en pra#ers -an 4e +nterspersed !+th su+ta4le
pra#er songs started spontaneousl# 4# an# mem4er of the group; Per+ods of
s+len-e ma# 4e >u+te -ommon: as the group see6s an a!areness of Gods
presen-e or a 6no!ledge of Gods !+ll; T+me spent +n th+s ,er# rela/ed form of
pra#er ma# ,ar# from a fe! m+nutes to a mu-h longer per+od;
++; Cha+n pra#er: !h+-h +n,ol,es ea-h person pra#+ng +n order around the
group; 0m4arrassment for those !ho do not !+sh to pra# -an 4e a,o+ded 4#
(3
Donahue: 1eading 1ife*Changing $mall ;roups, %%2-%%;
3
suggest+ng that su-h +nd+,+duals -an s+mpl# tou-h the ne/t person as a s+gnal
that the pra#er -an mo,e on;
+++; "r+tten pra#er: !h+-h +s espe-+all# helpful for those !ho are ner,ous a4out
pra#+ng +n pu4l+-; The ent+re group -an o--as+onall# 4e as6ed to prepare !r+tten
pra#ers 4eforehand as a !a# of 4r+ng+ng -reat+,+t# and ,ar+et# +nto the pra#er
l+fe of the group;
+,; Respons+,e pra#er: !h+-h +s also prepared 4eforehand: -op+ed: and d+str+4uted
among the group; In th+s form of pra#er: the leader e/presses adorat+on: pra+se:
pet+t+on: et-;: and the !hole group follo!s together !+th appropr+ate
responses;
,; Pra#er +n t!os or threes: !h+-h ena4les group mem4ers to spend more t+me
pra#+ng for ea-h other; 5e sure e,er#one +s -omforta4le !+th pra#+ng +n pu4l+-
4efore suggest+ng +t;
,+ Communal pra#er su-h as the 1ords Pra#er: !h+-h +s read or re-+ted 4# the
!hole group together; Su-h pra#ers are useful +f the# add ,ar+et# !+thout
repla-+ng the more +nformal st#les ment+oned a4o,e
's ment+oned earl+er: one of the features of the small group meet+ng +s the presen-e of
the empt# -ha+r; Chr+st+an mem4ers of the group !+ll pra# -onstantl# that the group
!+ll gro! as God f+lls that empt# -ha+r;
The position chosen for pra0er should also 4e +n harmon# !+th the +nformal nature of
small group l+fe; 's a general rule: pra#er that +s offered 4efore and dur+ng 5+4le stud#:
or the shared pra#er after 5+4le stud# that ma# -ont+nue for some t+me: +s 4est offered
!h+le the group +s seated; Groups see6+ng to 4u+ld a sense of fello!sh+p and mutual
support f+nd mu-h help +f group mem4ers =o+n hands !h+le pra#er +s offered; There +s
no need to +ns+st that e,er#one should 6neel for pra#er;
O--as+onall#: a mem4er of the group ma# ment+on a spe-+al pra#er need; In su-h -ases
there +s mu-h to 4e ga+ned +f the other mem4ers of the group -an gather round that
person !h+le the# pra# for her: and: +f +t +s appropr+ate: the t!o or three +nd+,+duals
!ho are nearest -an la# the+r hands on the shoulders of that person; Th+s 6+nd of
spe-+al pra#er m+n+str#: ho!e,er: must al!a#s 4e -ondu-ted sens+t+,el#; Not e,er#one:
espe-+all# ne!-omers: !+ll feel -omforta4le !+th +t;
d- $efreshments
These are usuall# ser,ed at the end of the meet+ng: allo!+ng group mem4ers the opt+on
to lea,e: or sta# and -hat +nformall#; Refreshments -an 4e ser,ed at the 4eg+nn+ng of
the meet+ng +nstead: espe-+all# +f some mem4ers arr+,e stra+ght from !or6: or ha,e to
arr+,e o,er a per+od of t+me; The ad,antage of end+ng !+th refreshments +s that +t
ena4les the group to D!+nd do!nE from the stud#Lpra#er per+od;
0+ther !a#: a refreshment per+od +s an +mportant element to su--essful small group
meet+ngs: and should 4e +n-luded !hene,er poss+4le; It helps people to rela/ !h+le
tal6+ng: and somet+mes -auses 4arr+ers to 4e 4ro6en do!n that !ould other!+se +nh+4+t
the gro!th of relat+onsh+ps; )or th+s reason: some groups ma6e the+r f+rst meet+ng a
so-+al one at !h+-h strangers -an get a->ua+nted through a pot-lu-6 t#pe of meal
follo!ed 4# su+ta4le games;
8
' !ord of -aut+on: 6eep the refreshments s+mple; 0/-ept for spe-+al o--as+ons: -old
and hot dr+n6s and 4+s-u+ts are enough;
+atch the time' "hate,er else the t#p+-al small group meet+ng m+ght +n-lude: and
ho!e,er the t+me m+ght 4e d+,+ded Aon-e the group has de-+ded ho! long meet+ngs
should lastB t!o f+nal rules should 4e fa+thfull# o4ser,ed +f the small group +s go+ng to
gro!:
Rule One: Start on t+me Rule T!o: 0nd on t+me
T,E S!"## G$O%& #I(E-C1C#E
't the outset: -ongregat+ons de,elop+ng small group m+n+str# should understand that
small groups mean -onstant -hange as the# gro! and d+,+de: and fulf+ll the+r usefulness
to the -hur-h; One reason !h# small groups ha,e not !or6ed +n the past: and !h#
some -hur-h mem4ers ha,e not !anted to 4elong to a small group: +s that -omm+tment
to a small group +s seen as a permanent th+ng; It +s not; Small groups are temporar#;
The l+fe e/pe-tan-# of small groups +s l+m+ted; 1+6e 4od# -ells: small groups dont last
fore,er; Small-group -hur-hes !h+-h ha,e ga+ned e/per+en-e o,er se,eral #ears
generall# agree that a fa+rl# a,erage small group has a l+fe e/pe-tan-# of from t!el,e
to e+ghteen months; Generall# spea6+ng: groups should not -ont+nue longer than t!o
#ears; The l+fe of a small group -ons+sts of four stages: as follo!s:
Stage One2 "d.enture
Dur+ng th+s f+rst stage: most group mem4ers are h+ghl# mot+,ated: eager to learn: and
-onf+dent that the group !+ll result +n 4less+ngs all round; Some ha,e -alled th+s the
Dhone#moonE stage: and l+6e an# hone#moon: +t +s temporar#: and should 4e en=o#ed:
ho!e,er unreal+st+- the e/pe-tat+ons ma# 4e;
Stage T/o2 )isco.er0
In th+s stage: there +s a return to real+t# - the !orld of real people; "e d+s-o,er that
group mem4ers are human and all ha,e the+r !arts; DNo ga+n !+thout pa+nE no! loo6s
-loser to the truthC -on-epts of a--ounta4+l+t# and gro!th loo6 more l+6e hard !or6
than fun: and the +dea of gett+ng together regularl# for se,eral !ee6s or months means
real -omm+tment; 1eadersh+p ma# 4e -hallenged; Some group mem4ers drop out:
poss+4l# to f+nd another group more to the+r l+6+ng; Th+s stage has to 4e a--epted for
!hat +t +s: and the group has to real+se that a Dperfe-tE small group !+th no pro4lems +s
pro4a4l# the one small group !here no gro!th or -hanges for the 4etter -an ta6e
pla-e;
Stage Three2 )e.elopment
On-e +n+t+al pro4lems ha,e 4een resol,ed and group mem4ers ha,e a--epted the rough
!+th the smooth: gro!th -an 4eg+n to ta6e pla-e as the groups strengths are set
aga+nst +ts !ea6nesses: and +ts ,ar+ed talents and g+fts are +dent+f+ed and mat-hed !+th
+ts goals and targets;
't th+s stage the group leader -an 4eg+n to share some of h+s leadersh+p respons+4+l+t#
!+th other mem4ers; The group ma# also start loo6+ng for !a#s +n !h+-h +t -an ser,e
the -ommun+t# +n a more general !a#: as !ell as +ts o!n +nterests; The role of the
9
leadersh+p team dur+ng th+s per+od +s to re-ogn+se the poss+4+l+t+es for de,elopment and
help +t to happen;
The de,elopment stage +s 4# far the longest of the four stages; Th+s means that +t has
potent+al for stagnat+on +nstead of gro!th: and degenerat+on +nto rout+ne pred+-ta4+l+t#
+nstead of ongo+ng -hallenge; )or th+s reason some small group e/perts are no!
ad,+s+ng that the group should meet dur+ng th+s stage for se,eral short per+ods:
follo!+ng a se>uent+al ser+es of 5+4le stud# un+ts: rather than attempt to -ont+nue
!+thout a 4rea6 for the durat+on of the groups l+fe;
"n E5ample of
SeJuential Bible Stud0 %nits for Small Groups
Un+t One S+/ stud+es to 4u+ld group +dent+t#
Un+t T!o S+/ stud+es to e/plore 4as+- Chrst+an+t#
Un+t Three S+/ stud+es the Gospel of 2ar6
Un+t )our S+/ stud+es on the Gospel of 2ar6
Un+t )+,e 0+ght stud+es !+th help and hope for e,er# da#
Un+t S+/ T!el,e stud+es on l+,+ng +n the end
Un+t Se,en S+/ stud+es on pra#er
Un+t 0+ght Ten stud+es on great tea-h+ngs of the 5+4le
Un+t N+ne S+/ stud+es on 0phes+ans Afo-us on Chur-hB
' parents group: for e/ample: -ould meet dur+ng term t+me then 4rea6 for the s-hool
hol+da# per+ods; 0a-h un+t of s+/: e+ght or ten !ee6s -ould then 4e de,oted to a
d+fferent top+- of general +nterest; These un+ts m+ght -o,er: sa#: a total of s+/t#-t!o
!ee6s out of a se,ent#-se,en !ee6s Ae+ghteen monthsB per+od: allo!+ng t+me for
4rea6s +n 4et!een; Remem4er that the group -hooses the top+-s as the# go alongC the#
are not -hosen 4eforehand 4# the leader Ae/-ept for the f+rst ser+es of stud+es: !h+-h +s
usuall# -hosen 4# the leadersh+p teamB; The ad,antages of th+s approa-h are:
mem4ers are more !+ll+ng and a4le to -omm+t themsel,es
mem4ers -an lea,e the group at the end of a un+t +f the# are unhapp# !+th the
group
ne! mem4ers are onl# added to the group at the -ommen-ement of ne! un+ts;
Th+s sa,es the group from the d+srupt+on of the deepen+ng fello!sh+p that ta6es
pla-e +f ,+s+tors are -onstantl# =o+n+ng
B'Stage (our2 !aturit0
In the ma=or+t# of -ases +t +s pro4a4l# true to sa# that a small group -an onl# do so
mu-h for +ts mem4ers and no more; 'fter a num4er of people ha,e spent e+ghteen to
t!ent#-four months together +n !ee6l# 5+4le stud# and fello!sh+p: +t +s t+me for them
to mo,e on to the -hallenges of a ne! group: +n !h+-h further gro!th -an ta6e pla-e;
In th+s fast-mo,+ng !orld: !e >u+-6l# get 4ored and -ompla-ent; "+thout a t+me-
related goal to !or6 to!ards: the earl+er enthus+asm -an eas+l# fade; ' pre-determ+ned
term+nat+on po+nt -an ser,e as that goal +n t+me; 0,en +f the group does not gro!
numer+-all# or -on,ers+ons do not ta6e pla-e: mem4ers -an en=o# the sense of
sat+sfa-t+on of 6no!+ng that the# ha,e sta#ed the -ourse: and ha,e gro!n together +n
3&
the+r relat+onsh+ps !+th ea-h other and !+th God; The ,alue of su-h gro!th +n the long-
term -annot 4e measured;
2ost groups: ho!e,er: -an e/pe-t tang+4le th+ngs to happen; 'nd the# are mu-h more
l+6el# to happen +f the# are planned for and pra#ed for !+th+n a -erta+n per+od of t+me:
than +f no t+me element +s +n,ol,ed; 2an# groups -an e/pe-t to gro! from a start+ng
po+nt of: sa#: e+ght mem4ers: to the+r full -apa-+t# of ten to t!el,e mem4ers !+th+n a
per+od of e+ghteen months; 'nd the group must 4e read# for th+s -ulm+nat+on per+od
!hen the# !+ll de-+de !hether to form t!o ne! groups: or separate and =o+n other
e/+st+ng groups;
Naturall#: there !+ll usuall# 4e some relu-tan-e to term+nate meet+ngs; 5ut the trauma
of the e/per+en-e -an 4e m+n+m+sed +f:
aB the group +s rem+nded o--as+onall# that th+s !+ll happen
4B a -ele4rat+on e,ent +s organ+sed for the last meet+ng to re-ogn+se !hat has
4een a-h+e,ed: and than6 God for +t
-B group mem4ers are rem+nded that fr+endsh+ps -ont+nue: e,en +f the group
doesnt
dB a reun+on gather+ng +s organ+sed a fe! !ee6s later
eB o--as+onall# all groups meet together for than6sg+,+ng and shar+ng: and
Sa44ath !orsh+p +s fre>uentl# used as an opportun+t# for +nform+ng the
-ongregat+on of !hat God +s a-h+e,+ng through small group m+n+str#;
(rom a practical point of .ie/ !hen a group has rea-hed the po+nt !here +t +s read#
to d+,+de and spa!n a se-ond group: the ass+stant leader of the or+g+nal group 4e-omes
+ts leader: and the leader of the or+g+nal group 4e-omes the leader of the ne! group;
5oth groups -an: +f there +s suff+-+ent spa-e: -ont+nue meet+ng +n the same home for a
per+od of t+me: us+ng d+fferent rooms; 'fter se,eral !ee6s: there should 4e no d+ff+-ult#
+n mo,+ng one of the groups to a ne! home;
3%
%anuary (3, 3I4I
5artin ,an 0uren
overnor of >ew 8ork
#o @resident %acksonC
#he canal system of this country is being threatened by a new form of
transportation known as 7railroads"9 #he federal government must preserve the
canals for the following reasonsC
;ne" If canal boats are supplanted by 7railroads,9 serious unemployment will
result" Captains, cooks, drivers, hostelers, repairmen and dock tenders will be left
without means of livelihood, not to mention the numerous farmers now employed
in growing hay for the horses"
#wo" 0oat builders would suffer and towline, whip and harness makers would
be left destitute"
#hree" Canal boats are absolutely essential to the defense of the Fnited 2tates"
In the event of the e-pected trouble with Angland, the Arie Canal would be the only
means by which we could ever move the supplies so vital to waging modern war"
/s you may well know, 5r" @resident, 7railroad9 carriages are pulled at the
enormous speed of fifteen miles per hour by 7engines9 which, in addition to
endangering life and limb of passengers, roar and snort their way through the
countryside, setting fire to crops, scaring livestock and frightening women and
32
children" #he /lmighty surely never intended that people should travel at such
breakneck speed"
GJ
Chapter Ten
S!"## G$O%& ("CTS "N) &,OBI"S
o - ho! do #ou feel a4out the +dea of +ntrodu-+ng small groups +n #our
'd,ent+st -hur-h: no! that #ou ha,e -ome to the end of th+s manual$ In
-on,ersat+ons !+th d+fferent +nd+,+duals a4out small groups: there ha,e 4een
!+del# d+ffer+ng responses: from !holehearted enthus+asm to !holehearted s6ept+-+sm;
Thats not surpr+s+ng;
S
Countless people ha,e 4een greatl# 4lessed 4# 4elong+ng to a group - a fe! m+ght not
4e Chr+st+ans toda# +f +t had not 4een for the ne! fa+th the# found through meet+ng
!+th a small group of lo,+ng: -ar+ng Chr+st+ans; Some people: ho!e,er: ha,e 4een hurt
4# 4elong+ng to a group A"a-o m+ght not ha,e happened +f +t had not 4een for small
groupsB;
Th+s 4r+ef manual !as !r+tten to help e/pla+n !hat genu+ne small groups are: ho! the#
!or6: and !hat the# -an a-h+e,e: +n the hope that man#: +f not all: Se,enth-da#
'd,ent+st -ongregat+ons +n 5r+ta+n !+ll e,entuall# adopt a small-group approa-h to
-hur-h l+fe: and en=o# the enormous 4enef+ts the# -an 4r+ng;
5ut there are a fe! outstand+ng -on-erns to 4e addressed and >uest+ons to 4e
ans!ered !h+-h do not naturall# 4elong +n pre,+ous se-t+ons: so lets deal !+th them
here; 'nd on-e !e,e dealt !+th them: all I -an sa# +s: the proof of the pudd+ng +s +n
the eat+ng; @o+n a small group and tr# the e/per+en-e for #ourselfF 5ut f+rst: the
-on-erns and >uest+ons;
(8
?er4 2+ller: ed;: D1etter to Pres+dent @a-6son:E Net Results 0aga>ine: 2ar-h %99%: >uoted +n
"+ll+am '; 5e-6ham: The $econd Reformation8 Reshaping the Church for the 2!st Century: p; %9
3.
3' 7;h no" >ot another cure)allB9 One of the most fre>uent o4=e-t+ons to ta6+ng
small groups ser+ousl# +s 4ased on the +dea that the# are 4e+ng offered as =ust another
+nstant solut+on to all the -hallenges !e fa-e as a -hur-h;
"ell: the ans!er to that one +s DNoE and D<es;E DNoE 4e-ause small groups are not a
su4st+tute for hard !or6 and -omm+tment: and the# !+ll not -hange an#th+ng o,ern+ght;
2ost -hur-hes !+ll 4e loo6+ng at a m+n+mum of three #ears 4efore small groups reall#
4eg+n to ha,e a ma=or +mpa-t on the effe-t+,eness of +ts m+n+str#; 'lso: small groups
are not a DprogrammeE !h+-h e,er#one has to run the same; Small groups are a s#stem
- the# represent a parad+gm sh+ft +n our -on-ept of the -hur-h; Thats the d+fferen-e;
The ans!er +s also D<esE 4e-ause as soon as the f+rst group 4eg+ns to fun-t+on
properl#: pos+t+,e -hanges are go+ng to 4e felt: f+rst 4# +nd+,+duals +n the group: and
then 4# the -hur-h; If the ma=or+t# of the -ongregat+on 4e-ome +n,ol,ed: d+fferen-es
!+ll 4e seen and felt +n all d+re-t+ons:- >ual+t# of -hur-h fello!sh+p: num4ers of ne!
-on,erts: le,el of apostas#: sense of -orporate o!nersh+p: +n,ol,ement of #outh +n
m+n+str#: et-; et-; Thats ho! +ts alread# !or6+ng +n thousands of -hur-hes !orld!+deC
thats ho! +t -an !or6 +n #our -hur-h;
8' 7#hey1re a substitute for the +oly 2piritB9 If there are pro4lems +n the -hur-h: the
solut+on +s pra#er: fast+ng: and the ?ol# Sp+r+t: r+ght$ R+ghtF - there +s no su4st+tute for
the po!er and presen-e of God among us; 5ut !hat +f small groups are part of ?+s
!a# of -om+ng -lose to us: one of ?+s -hosen methods for gu+d+ng: empo!er+ng and
us+ng us$ "hat +f !e l+m+t the ?ol# Sp+r+t 4# +gnor+ng ?+s -ounsel and use less
effe-t+,e methods than the ones he has alread# +nd+-ated !e should use$ Theres no
su4st+tute for the ?ol# Sp+r+t: 4ut theres no su4st+tute for the r+ght method: e+therF
Remem4er: !e 6eep Sa44ath on Saturda# and en-ourage others to do the same
4e-ause +ts 5+4l+-al: and part of Gods plan for us; "e re=e-t Sunda# as the Sa44ath
4e-ause !e see +t as an una--epta4le human alternat+,e; "e should return to the small
group -hur-h -on-ept for the same reason: +ts 5+4l+-al: +ts part of Gods plan: and !e
-annot 4e as effe-t+,e +n Gospel m+n+str# !+thout +t as !e -an 4e !+th +t;
A' 7&e1re just copying other churches"9 "ell: that ma# 4e true; Its a leg+t+mate
-on-ern that !e should do someth+ng s+mpl# 4e-ause !e see other -hur-hes do+ng +t;
5ut lets 4e hum4le on th+s one; 2ost of !hat !e 4el+e,e and !hat !e do: and mu-h
of our present s#stem of -hur-h stru-ture: d+d not 4eg+n !+th us; "e -op+ed +t from
other -hur-hes; 'nd !e ha,e ne,er -la+med that !e ha,e a monopol# on the ?ol#
Sp+r+t - !e do 4el+e,e that God +s 4+gger than !e are and +s !or6+ng out ?+s o!n plan
for the !orld through other organ+sat+ons as !ell as our o!n;
There +s no dou4t that God +s do+ng someth+ng !onderful Dout thereE - through small
groups and other means as !ell; "e 4el+e,e !e should 4e the head and not the ta+lC 4ut
+f !e -an learn from others: lets do +t;
B' 7#he old ways are bestB9 "e l+6e the old h#mns: the old order of -hur-h ser,+-e -
and the old s#stem; "ere fam+l+ar !+th +t: !ere -omforta4le !+th +t; So +ts natural to
feel un-omforta4le !+th someth+ng that threatens to ta6e the old fam+l+ar th+ngs a!a#;
3*
5ut lets ne,er forget that our -hur-h 4egan as a mo,ement of -hange; ?a,+ng sa+d
!hat !e,e sa+d +n the past a4out others !ho tea-h trad+t+on rather than truth: lets not
fall +nto the same error oursel,es - 4e+ng so -omforta4le !+th oursel,es: that !e res+st
the ?ol# Sp+r+t !hen he +s tr#+ng to mo,e us -loser to Gods +deal;
The pra-t+-al+t+es of small group m+n+str# mean that -erta+n th+ngs !+ll need to -hange:
as !e ha,e alread# noted; "e -ant !or6 the old s#stem and a ne! s#stem together;
Ind+,+dual -hur-h mem4ers -an onl# do so mu-h; Chur-h gro!th -onsultant Carl
George 4el+e,es that most people can handle only two and a half in)ol)ements8
leadership of one ministry, solid participation in another, and occasional
participation in a third.
(*
So someone m+ght ser,e as an elder: help tea-h a Sa44ath
S-hool -lass: and support the pra#er meet+ng: 4ut to as6 that person to do someth+ng
else 4es+des !ould mean that noth+ng !ould 4e done properl#;
So: #es: small groups mean that someth+ng old m+ght ha,e to go to ma6e !a# for
someth+ng ne!; A)or e/ample: ser,+ng as a -hur-h elder m+ght a-tuall# mean ser,+ng as
a small group leader: and noth+ng more;B 5ut +s that a pro4lem +f the ne! +s 4etter than
the old$ 'nd !hat +f the old +s not !or6+ng as !ell as +t on-e d+d$ It !ouldnt 4e the
f+rst t+me that old !+nes6+ns had to 4e repla-ed !+th ne! ones to hold the ne! !+ne;
9" 7If it1s not broken, why mend it:9 R+ghtF 2an# th+ngs +n the -hur-h st+ll ser,e us
!ell and ma# -ont+nue to do so +ndef+n+tel#; Small groups are not +ntended to do a!a#
!+th them; If +ntens+,e: short-term pu4l+- e,angel+sm Dreap+ngE -ampa+gns !or6 !ell:
lets -ont+nue to use them; If the pra#er meet+ng +s a ma=or e,ent that +n,ol,es the
ma=or+t# of mem4ers and +s 4r+ng+ng l+fe and po!er to the -hur-h: 6eep +t; Small
groups -an st+ll ser,e a useful purpose as a l+n6 +n the -ha+n 4et!een the 4eg+nn+ng Athe
,+s+onB and the end Athe a-h+e,ementB of !hat !e set out to do +n areas of fello!sh+p:
!+tness: and !orsh+p: et-;
:' 7I1m not hanging out my dirty washingB9 Theres a real fear that 4elong+ng to a
small group means 4ar+ng #our soul and lett+ng other people +nto all the gu+lt# se-rets
of #our l+fe; 5ut thats not the !a# +t +s; The shar+ng that ta6es pla-e !+th+n small
groups ta6es pla-e spontaneousl# and naturall#: =ust as +t al!a#s does among fr+ends;
Theres no man+pulat+on: no pressure: =ust a genu+ne des+re among group mem4ers to
help and support one another; Its -alled DJo+non+a:E and the Ne! Testament des-r+4es
+t fre>uentl# Ae;g; '-ts 2:*2-*3C *:.2-.3B
C' 7&hat about the children:9 2an# people ma# !ant to get +n,ol,ed !+th small
groups 4ut feel restr+-ted 4e-ause of the+r #oung -h+ldren; Su-h people: ho!e,er: need
the 4less+ngs of 4elong+ng to a small group more than the rest of usF ?ere are a fe!
!a#s that e/+st+ng small groups pro,+de for the+r mem4ers -h+ldren:
Su+ta4le meet+ngs are arranged at the -hur-h !h+le parents meet !+th the+r
small groups
One small group arranges to -are for the -h+ldren of another small group:
and ,+-e ,ersa: 4# ha,+ng meet+ngs at d+fferent t+mes
If there +s a separate large room +n the home !here the group meets: group
mem4ers ta6e +t +n turns to -are for the -h+ldren
3(
Ind+,+duals +n the -hur-h ,olunteer: or are h+red: to 4a4#s+t
Ch+ldren are +n-luded +n the groups: +f e,er#one +s happ# !+th the
-onse>uen-es AFB
D" 7&e can1t afford this on top of everything elseB9 "ell the good ne!s +s: small
groups are a4out the most +ne/pens+,e: -ost-effe-t+,e m+n+str# a -hur-h -ould e,er
ha,e; ?our for hour: pound for pound: !e !+ll get more return from our +n,estment +n
small groups +n terms of pra-t+-al 4enef+ts to the -hur-h: than from an# other
+n,estment !e m+ght ma6e; 't the 4ottom end: +n fa-t: small groups need -ost noth+ng
at all; 'll #ou need are 5+4les and people; 5e#ond that: +t !ould pa# the -hur-h to
+n,est +n:
a fe! small group gu+de 4oo6s for the l+4rar#
an o,erhead pro=e-tor
a !h+te4oardLfl+p-hart or t!o
fund+ng for small group stud# gu+des as needed Athough most people are
!+ll+ng to pa# for these +f the# are usedB
7' 7#his means taking one step back to take two steps forward"9 Thats pro4a4l# a
true o4ser,at+on; The t+me and effort that +t !+ll ta6e to get a full# produ-t+,e small
group s#stem esta4l+shed +n man# of our -hur-hes ma# mean that not as mu-h t+me and
energ# -an 4e g+,en to other th+ngs as 4efore; One result of th+s m+ght 4e that for the
f+rst #ear or t!o: there m+ght 4e a small de-rease +n the num4er of 4apt+sms !e
normall# see; The +mportant th+ng +s: ho!e,er: as -hapter s+/ of th+s manual e/pla+ned:
that from #ear t!o or three on!ards: 4apt+sms !+ll +n-rease and go on to pass all
pre,+ous re-ords; "e need to see the t+me and energ# spent +n sett+ng up small groups
as an +n,estment; The 4+gger the +n,estment: the 4+gger the return;
In terms of a gro!+ng -hur-h: +snt that e/a-tl# !hat !e !ant$
May God guide you and
prosper His church as you
think BIG by thinking
SMALL GROUPS
3
"&&EN)IK "
S%GGESTE) ICE-B$E"?E$ I%ESTIONS
%; "here !ere #ou l+,+ng 4et!een the ages of 3 and %2 ; ; ; and !hat !ere the !+nters l+6e$
2; ?o! d+d #ou heat #our house dur+ng th+s t+me$
.; "hat !as the -entre of !armth +n #our l+fe dur+ng th+s t+me$ ATh+s -an 4e a pla-e +n the
house: a t+me of #ear or a personB;
*; "hen d+d God 4e-ome a D!armE person to #ou and ho! d+d +t happen$
(; "hat +s #our fa,our+te TI programme and !h#$
; If mone# !ere no pro4lem: and #ou -ould -hoose one pla-e +n the !orld to tra,el for a
!ee6: !here !ould that pla-e 4e and !h#$
3; "ho +s #our num4er one ad,+sor +n l+fe and !h#$
8; One of m# 4+ggest pet pee,es +s SSSSSSSS;
9; People m+ght 4e surpr+sed to f+nd out that I SSSSS
%&; <ou ha,e three !+shes; "hat !ould #ou !+sh for $
%%; If #ou suddenl# lost #our e#es+ght: !hat !ould 4e the th+ng #ou m+ssed see+ng the most$
%2; "hat +s the most dar+ng th+ng #ou ha,e e,er done$ "hat made +t so dar+ng$
%.; 2# fa,our+te !a# to !aste t+me +s SSSSS;
%*; "hat do #ou m+ss most a4out -h+ldhood$
%(; "hat da# of #our l+fe !ould #ou most l+6e to rel+,e$ "h#$
%; "hats the smallest spa-e #ou,e l+,ed +n$ "hat !as +t l+6e$
%3; @ust for the funLthr+ll of +t: 4efore I d+e Id l+6e to SSSSSSS
%8; 's a t+me tra,eller: I !ould most l+6e to ,+s+t SSSSS 4e-auseSSSSS
33
%9; Ne/t #ear loo6s 4etter to me 4e-ause SSSSSSSSSSSS
2&; Ne/t #ear ma# 4e a pro4lem 4e-auseSSSSSSSSSSSSSS;
2%; I !+ll pro4a4l# ne,er SSSSSSSSS: 4ut +t !ould st+ll 4e fun +f I -ould;

38
"&&EN)IK B
S"!&#E C,%$C,-#I(E I%ESTIONN"I$E
In order for the -hur-h fam+l# to !or6 and gro! together: !e need a -lear p+-ture of
ho! !e see oursel,es; Please respond to the follo!+ng +deas a--ord+ng to ho! #ou
a-tuall# th+ng or feel: not ho! #ou 4el+e,e #ou ought to respond;
SSSSI+s+tor SSSSS2em4er SSSSS2ale SSSS)emale
SSSSUnder %( SSSS%-2& SSSS2%-.( SSSS.-(&
SSSSO,er (&
'; )011O"S?IP
%; The -ongregat+on here +s:

"'R2 'ND )RI0ND1< SS SS SS SS SS CO1D 'ND UN)RI0ND1<
C'RING SS SS SS SS SS UNC'RING
ON0 UNIT0D GROUP SS SS SS SS SS S0I0R'1 DDIIID0DE GROUPS
?'PP< SS SS SS SS SS UN?'PP<
2; In the fello!sh+p of th+s -hur-h I see m#self +n the -+r-le as sho!n 4# DGE
.; I+s+tors to th+s -hur-h aB feel a--epted +mmed+atel# SSSSS
4B feel a--epted after a short t+meSSSS
-B feel a--epted onl# after a long per+od SSSS
5; "ORS?IP
%; Sa44ath S-hool +s
INT0R0ST SS SS SS SS SS 5ORING
I'RI0D SS SS SS SS SS 2ONOTONOUS
UP-TO-D'T0 SS SS SS SS SS OUT-O) D'T0
2; Some dont attend Sa44ath S-hool pro4a4l# 4e-ause
SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS
SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS
SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS
.; The !orsh+p ser,+-e +s usuall#:
'1II0 SS SS SS SS SS D0'D
C?'110NGING SS SS SS SS SS NOT C?'110NGING
R010I'NT SS SS SS SS SS NOT R010I'NT
*; The mus+- used +n !orsh+p
aB Is good at +t +s SSSS
4B Should ha,e ,ar+et# SSSS
-B Should +n-lude -ontemporar# !orsh+p songs SSS

(; Part+-+pat+on of -hur-h mem4ers +n -hur-h ser,+-e +s:
39
@UST RIG?T SS SS SS SS SS IN'D07U'T0
; 2+d-!ee6 Dpra#erE meet+ng !ould 4e 4etter attended +f SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS
SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS
3; "hat 6+nd of sermon 4enef+ts #ou most$
Do-tr+nal SS Prophe-# SS Current 0,ents SS De,ot+onal SS Chr+st+an 1+fest#le SS
otherSS
C; "ITN0SS
%; I 4el+e,e that e,er# mem4er +n the -hur-h has a part to pla# +n the !+tness of the
-hur-h: and I th+n6 I 6no! !hat m# part +s: <es SSSS No SSSSS Not Sure SSSSS
2; The last t+me I spo6e to a non-'d,ent+st a4out @esus !as:
aB 1ess than a !ee6 ago SSSS 4B 1ess than a month ago SSS -B 2ore than that SSS
.; The last t+me I +n,+ted someone to -hur-h !as:
aB 1ess than a !ee6 agoSSS 4B 1ess than a month agoSSS -B 2ore than that SSSS
*; In shar+ng m# fa+th: up t+ll no! I feel I ha,e 4een:
SUCC0SS)U1 SS SS SS SS SS UNSUCC0SS)U1
(; 's a -hur-h: !hat do !e need most to +n-rease the effe-t+,eness of our !+tness$
Tr# and num4er the follo!+ng % - +n order of +mportan-e;
aB 2ore and 4etter tra+n+ng SSSS
4B 2ore pra#er and -omm+tment SSSS
-B 2ore and 4etter pu4l+-+t# SSSSS
dB 2ore and 4etter !+tness+ng tools SSSSS
eB ' more fr+endl#: un+ted -hur-h SSSSS
fB 2ore l+,el#: rele,ant !orsh+p SSSSS
D; 'D2INISTR'TION
%; Does the Chur-h ha,e a def+n+te goalLm+ss+on !h+-h all mem4ers 6no! and share
+n$ <esSSS NoSSS
Not Sure SSS
2; ?o! a4out organ+sat+on$ Is the -hur-h;
"011 ORG'NIS0D SS SS SS SS SSDISORG'NIS0D;
"?'T '5OUT T?0 P'STOR$
"hat +n #our op+n+on should pr+or+t+es of the -hur-h pastor 4e$ Please num4er the
follo!+ng fun-t+ons of a pastor % to ( +n order of the+r +mportan-e;
Prea-h+ng: lead+ng -ongregat+on +n !orsh+p SSSSS
8&
Chur-h leadersh+p and adm+n+strat+on A!or6+ng !+th -hur-h 4oards: -omm+ttees:
plann+ng: organ+s+ng programmesB SSSSS
Tea-h+ng: tra+n+ng: e>u+pp+ng -hur-h mem4ers for ser,+-e SSSSS
0,angel+st+- a-t+,+t+es - personalLpu4l+- -ampa+gn !or6: 5+4le stud+es: -all+ng on non-
mem4ers SSSSS
Pastoral -are - ,+s+t+ng -hur-h mem4ers: -ounsell+ng: -all+ng on the s+-6: m+n+ster+ng to
4erea,ed SSSSS
'N< SUGG0STIONS$
Please state 4r+efl# ho! #ou th+n6 -hur-h l+fe here -ould 4e e,en 4etter than +t +s at
present SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS
SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS
SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS
"&&EN)IK C
E##EN +,ITE ST"TE!ENTS ON S!"## G$O%&S
DThe format+on of small -ompan+es as a 4as+s of Chr+st+an effort has 4een presented to
me 4# One !ho -annot err; If there +s a large num4er +n the -hur-h: let the mem4ers
8%
4e formed +nto small -ompan+es: to !or6 not onl# for the -hur-h mem4ers: 4ut for
un4el+e,ers; If +n one pla-e there are onl# t!o or three !ho 6no! the truth: let them
form themsel,es +nto a 4and of !or6ers; 1et them 6eep the+r 4ond of un+on un4ro6en:
press+ng together +n lo,e and un+t#: en-ourag+ng one another to ad,an-e: and ga+n+ng
-ourage and strength from the ass+stan-e of the others; 1et them la4our +n Chr+stl+6e
for4earan-e and pat+en-e: spea6+ng no hast# !ords: us+ng the talent of spee-h to 4u+ld
one another up +n the most hol# fa+th; 1et them la4our +n Chr+stl+6e lo,e for those
outs+de the fold: forgett+ng self +n the+r endea,our to help others; 's the# !or6 and
pra# +n Chr+sts name: the+r num4ers !+ll +n-rease: for the Sa,+our sa#s: DIf t!o of #ou
shall agree on earth as tou-h+ng an#th+ng that the# shall as6: +t shall 4e done for them
of 2# )ather !h+-h +s +n hea,en;E 2atthe! %8:%9 Test+mon+es Iolume 3: p; 2%: 22
DIn the -hur-h there !as a re,+,al of the m+ss+onar# sp+r+t; 'n earnest des+re to learn
ho! to !or6 for the 1ord !as sho!n; Small -ompan+es gathered for pra#er and 5+4le
stud#; 'll mo,ed for!ard !+th harmon+ous a-t+on; 5el+e,ers !ent to pla-es !here the
people ha,e no opportun+t# to hear the "ord of God and gathered the -h+ldren for
Sa44ath S-hool; 0fforts !ere made to help +solated fam+l+es; Plans !ere la+d for these
fam+l+es to meet !+th other fam+l+es for 5+4le stud#; Thus the !a# !as opened for the
l+ght to sh+ne forth from the "ord of God;E The Ind+ana Reporter: 2( )e4ruar# %9&.;
D1et small -ompan+es assem4le +n the e,en+ng: at noon: or +n the earl# morn+ng: to
stud# the 5+4le; 1et them ha,e a season of pra#er: that the# ma# 4e strengthened:
enl+ghtened: and san-t+f+ed 4# the ?ol# Sp+r+t ; ; ; If #ou #oursel,es !+ll open the door
to re-e+,e +t: a great 4less+ng !+ll -ome to #ou; 'ngels of God !+ll 4e +n #our
assem4l#; <ou !+ll feed upon the lea,es of the tree of l+fe; "hat test+mon+es #ou ma#
4ear of the lo,+ng a->ua+ntan-e made !+th #our fello!-!or6ers +n these pre-+ous
seasons !hen see6+ng the 4less+ng of God; 1et ea-h tell h+s e/per+en-e +n s+mple
!ords; Th+s !+ll 4r+ng more -omfort and =o# to the soul than all the pleasant
+nstruments of mus+- that -ould 4e 4rought +nto the -hur-hes; Chr+st !+ll -ome +nto
#our hearts; It +s 4# th+s means onl# that #ou -an ma+nta+n #our +ntegr+t#;E Test+mon+es
Iolume 3: p; %9(
D' Chr+st+an +s a Chr+stl+6e man: a Chr+stl+6e !oman: !ho +s a-t+,e +n Gods ser,+-e:
!ho +s present at the so-+al meet+ng: !hose presen-e !+ll en-ourage others also;
Rel+g+on does not -ons+st +n !or6s: 4ut rel+g+on !or6sC +t +s not dormant;E SD' 5+4le
Commentar#: ,ol; 3: 9.(;
D"e meet together to ed+f# one another 4# an +nter-hange of thoughts and feel+ngs:
and to gather strength: and l+ght: and -ourage 4# 4e-om+ng a->ua+nted !+th one
anothers hopes and asp+rat+onsC and 4# our earnest: heartfelt pra#ers: offered up +n
fa+th: !e re-e+,e refreshment and ,+gour from the sour-e of our strength ; ; ; 'll !ho
are pursu+ng the on!ard Chr+st+an -ourse: !ould ha,e: and !+ll ha,e: an e/per+en-e
that +s l+,+ng: that +s ne! and +nterest+ng; ' l+,+ng e/per+en-e +s made up of da+l# tr+als:
-onfl+-ts and temptat+ons: strong efforts and ,+-tor+es: and great pea-e and =o# ga+ned
through @esus; ' s+mple relat+on of su-h e/per+en-es g+,es l+ght: strength and
6no!ledge that !+ll a+d others +n the+r ad,an-ement +n the d+,+ne l+fe;E Test+mon+es
Iolume 2: p; (38: (39;
DPrea-h less: and edu-ate more: 4# hold+ng 5+4le read+ngs: and 4# pra#+ng !+th fam+l+es
and l+ttle -ompan+es;E DTo all !ho are !or6+ng !+th Chr+st I !ould sa#: "here,er #ou
-an ga+n a--ess to the people 4# the f+res+de: +mpro,e #our opportun+t#; Ta6e #our
82
4+4le: and open 4efore them +ts great truths; <our su--ess !+ll not depend so mu-h
upon #our 6no!ledge and a--ompl+shments: as upon #our a4+l+t# to f+nd #our !a# to
the heart; 5# 4e+ng so-+al and -om+ng -lose to the people: #ou ma# turn the -urrent of
the+r thoughts more read+l# than 4# the most a4le d+s-ourse; The presentat+on of Chr+st
+n the fam+l#: 4# the f+res+de: and +n small gather+ngs +n pr+,ate houses +s often more
su--essful +n !+nn+ng souls to @esus than are sermons del+,ered +n the open a+r: to the
mo,+ng throng: or e,en +n halls or -hur-hes;E Gospel "or6ers: p; %9.;
DGods !or6 +s to 4e done +n h+s !a# and h+s Sp+r+t; In ,ar+ous pla-es small -ompan+es
are to -onse-rate themsel,es to God: 4od#: soul: and sp+r+t: and la#+ng hold of the
throne of God 4# fa+th the# are to !or6 Healousl#: 6eep+ng the+r souls +n the lo,e of
God; The ,+tal -urrent of h+s lo,e !+ll ma6e +tself felt: and !+ll 4e re-ogn+Hed as from
hea,en +n the good !or6s of h+s people; Those l+ttle -ompan+es !ho 6no! the truth:
!+th one ,o+-e should 4+d the+r m+n+ster go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel;
0a-h one should see6 to do +nd+,+dual !or6 for another; Not one !ho has tasted the
goodness: the mer-#: and the lo,e of God: -an 4e e/-used from !or6+ng for the souls
of others;E )ollo!ers of Chr+st !+ll 4e 2+ss+onar+es: 'd,ent Re,+e! and Sa44ath
?erald: 8 @anuar#: %89(;
D'lthough the so-+al meet+ng +s a ne! th+ng: #et the# are learn+ng +n the s-hool of
Chr+st and are o,er-om+ng fear and trem4l+ng; "e 6eep 4efore them the fa-t that the
so-+al meet+ng As+m+lar to small group meet+ngsB !+ll 4e the 4est meet+ng +n !h+-h the#
ma# 4e tra+ned and edu-ated to 4e !+tnesses for Chr+st;E 2anus-r+pt .2 %89*;
D5ut on su-h o--as+ons as our annual -amp meet+ngs !e must ne,er lose s+ght of the
opportun+t+es afforded for tea-h+ng the 4el+e,ers ho! to do pra-t+-al m+ss+onar# !or6
+n the pla-e !here the# ma# l+,e; In man# +nstan-es +t !ould 4e !ell to set apart
-erta+n men to -arr# the 4urden of d+fferent l+nes of edu-at+onal !or6 at these
meet+ngs; 1et some help the people to learn ho! to g+,e 5+4le read+ngs and to
-ondu-t -ottage meet+ngs; 1et others 4ear the 4urden of tea-h+ng the people ho! to
pra-t+-e the pr+n-+ples of health and temperan-e: and ho! to g+,e treatments to the
s+-6; St+ll others ma# la4our +n the +nterest of our per+od+-al and 4oo6 !or6;E
Test+mon+es for the Chur-h Iolume 9: p; 82: 8.;
D"h# do not 4el+e,ers feel a deeper: more earnest -on-ern for those !ho are out of
Chr+st$ "h# do not t!o or three meet together and plead !+th God for the sal,at+on
of some spe-+al one: and then for st+ll another$ In our -hur-hes let -ompan+es 4e
formed for ser,+-e; 1et d+fferent ones un+te +n la4our as f+shers of men; 1et them see6
to gather souls from the -orrupt+on of the !orld +nto the sa,+ng pur+t# of Chr+sts
lo,e;E Test+mon+es: Iol; 3: 2%;
DI sa! the sa+nts lea,+ng the -+t+es and ,+llages: and asso-+at+ng together +n -ompan+es:
and l+,+ng +n the most sol+tar# pla-es; 'ngels pro,+ded them food and !ater: !h+le the
!+-6ed !ere suffer+ng from hunger and th+rst;E 0arl# "r+t+ngs: p; 282;
8.
"&&EN)IK )
EK"!&#E O( " $E#"TION"# G$O%& CO@EN"NT
Our small group g+,es us the opportun+t# to de,elop the relat+onsh+ps and fello!sh+p ne-essar#
!+th+n the 5od# of Chr+st; Genu+ne 4+4l+-al fello!sh+p +s poss+4le: !+th Gods help: through
our +nd+,+dual and mutual -omm+tment; To ass+st us as group mem4ers +n a-h+e,+ng the goals
of +dent+f+-at+on: lo,e: -ar+ng: and a--ounta4+l+t# to God: and to gu+de us +n our mutual
-omm+tment to one another as 4rothers and s+sters +n @esus Chr+st: !e agree to a4+de 4# the
follo!+ng -o,enants:

%; T?0 COI0N'NT O) '))IR2'TION: I pledge to a--ept #ou; I ma# not agree !+th #our
+deas or a-t+ons: 4ut I !+ll attempt to do all I -an to e/press Gods aff+rm+ng lo,e; I need #ouC
!e need ea-h other;
2; T?0 COI0N'NT O) CO22IT20NT: 2# resour-es - t+me: energ#: +ns+ght: possess+ons
- are at #our d+sposal +f #ou need them; I also pledge to meet !+th th+s group on a regular 4as+s;
8*
.; T?0 COI0N'NT O) PR'<0R: I prom+se to pra# regularl# for the mem4ers of the
group;
*; T?0 COI0N'NT O) ?ON0ST<: I agree to str+,e to 4e-ome a more open and honest
person: to share m# true op+n+ons: feel+ngs: struggles: =o#s: and hurts as !ell as I am a4le;
(; T?0 COI0N'NT O) 'CCOUNT'5I1IT<: I pledge to a--ept and g+,e -ounsel +f
ne-essar# for the gro!th of the group or +nd+,+dual mem4ers of +t: real+s+ng that +t +s +n
Dspea6+ng the truth +n lo,e: !e are a4le gro! up +n all aspe-ts unto ?+m: !ho +s the headE
A0phes+ans *:%(B; I also re-ogn+se that as a group !e are a--ounta4le to the -ongregat+on of the
-hur-h for !hat !e do or fa+l to do;
; T?0 COI0N'NT O) S0NSITIIIT<: @ust as I !ant #ou to 6no! and understand me: I
pledge m# sens+t+,+t# to #ou and #our needs to the 4est of m# a4+l+t#; I !ant to hear #ou: see
#our po+nt of ,+e!: and understand #our feel+ngs;
3; T?0 COI0N'NT O) CON)ID0NTI'1IT<: I prom+se ne,er to d+,ulge an#th+ng shared
!+th+n th+s group +n -onf+den-e outs+de th+s group; I ,o! not to as6 #ou to share th+ngs a4out
#ourself that #ou !ould prefer to 6eep und+s-losed;
In full a--eptan-e to these -o,enants: I aff+/ m# name to th+s do-ument +n re-ogn+t+on of m#
-omm+tment to God and the mem4ers of th+s groups; I shall 6eep th+s do-ument as a rem+nder
of th+s ,oluntar# -o,enant I ha,e entered +nto on th+s date;
SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS
S+gnature Date
A<our s+gnature +s for #our o!n -omm+tmentC #ou reta+n th+s do-ument;B
Bibliograph0
5arna: George; Turn 'round Chur-hes; U;S;';: Regal 5oo6s: ' D+,+s+on of Gospel
1+ght: Ientura: Cal+forn+a;
5e-6ham: "+ll+am '; The Se-ond Reformat+on: Reshap+ng the Chur-h for the 2%st
Centur#; U;S;';: Tou-h Pu4l+-at+ons: P; O; 5o/ %9888: ?ouston: TG 3322*: %99(;
5+leH+6+an: G+l4ert; Commun+t# %&%: Re-la+m+ng the 1o-al Chur-h as Commun+t# of
Oneness; U;S;';: Konder,an Pu4l+sh+ng ?ouse: Grand Rap+ds: 2+-h+gan;: *9(.&:
%993;
5r+erle#: Peter; NChr+st+an 0ngland: "hat the 0ngl+sh Chur-h Census Re,eals; 1ondon:
2'RC 0urope: I+s+on 5u+ld+ng: * )oots-ra# Road: 0ltham: 1ondon S09 2TK: %99%;
5urr+ll: Russell; Rad+-al D+s-+ples for Re,olut+onar# Chur-hes; U;S;'; ?art Resear-h
Centre: )all4roo6: Cal+forn+a: %99
5urr+ll: Russell; Re,olut+on +n the Chur-hes: Unleash+ng the '!esome Po!er of 1a#
2+n+str#; U;S;';: ?art Resear-h Centre: )all4roo6: Cal+forn+a: %99.
8(
5urr+ll: Russell; The Re,olut+on+Hed Chur-h of the 2%st Centur#: The 0/plos+,e Po!er of a
Chur-h 5u+lt on Relat+onsh+ps; U;S;';: ?art Resear-h Centre: )all4roo6: Cal+forn+a:
%993;
Care#: George; Plant+ng Ne! Chur-hes: Great 5r+ta+n: 0agle: "+ll+ams 5u+ld+ng:
"ood4r+dge 2eado!s: Gu+ldford: Surre# GU% %5?
Coleman: 1#man; 5+4le Stud+es for Small Groups; 1ondon: S-r+pture Un+on: %.& C+t#
Road: 1ondon 0C%I 2N@
Cous+ng: Don T Pol+ng: @udson; 1eaders Gu+de % A"al6+ng !+th God Ser+esB;U;S;';:
Konder,an Pu4l+sh+ng ?ouse: Grand Rap+ds: 2+-h+gan *9(.&
Cotterell: Peter; Small Groups: 5+g Results: 'll '4out ?ouse Groups;J+ngs!a# Pu4l+-at+ons
1td: 1ott4r+dge Dro,e: 0ast4ourne: 0; Susse/ 5N2. NT
Da,+s: Deena; D+s-+plesh+p @ournals %&% 5est Small-Group Ideas;Na,press Pu4l+sh+ng
Group: P; O; 5o/ .(&&%: Colorado Spr+ngs: Colorado 8&9.(: U;S;';
Donahue: 5+ll; The "+llo! Cree6 Gu+de to 1ead+ng 1+fe-Chang+ng Small Groups; U;S;';:
Konder,an Pu4l+sh+ng ?ouse: Grand Rap+ds: 2+-h+gan;
Dossman: Cra+g '; )rom ?ouse to ?ouse: ' Ne! Testament 2odel for Chur-h Gro!th;
U;S;';: Sr;5a4# 5oomer 2+n+str+es Resour-e Center N'D D+str+4ut+on Center:
1+n-on: Ne4ras6a 8(&;
0,ans: 1arr# R; )rom Cell to Cele4rat+on; U;S;';: The Ne+gh4orhood ?ome 5+4le
Stud#: %.*(( S0 9(th ',enue: Cla-6amas: OR 93&%(: %989;
)+nne#: @ohn; The "ell Chur-h 5oo6: ' Pra-t+-al Gu+de to 2+ss+on 'ud+t; 0ngland:
S-r+pture Un+on: %.& C+t# Road: 1ondon 0C%I 2N@: %99%;
Gallo!a#: Dale !+th 2+ll+s: Jath+s; The Small Group 5oo6: The Pra-t+-al Gu+de for
Nutur+ng Chr+st+ans and 5u+ld+ng Chur-hes; U;S;';: )lem+ng ?; Re,ell: '
D+,+s+on of 5a6er 5oo6 ?ouse CO; Grand Rap+ds: 2+-h+gan *9(%;
George: Carl ); Prepare <our Chur-h for the )uture; U;S;'; )lem+ng ?; Re,ell: '
D+,+s+on of 5a6er 5oo6 ?ouse CO;: Grand Rap+ds: 2+-h+gan *9(%;
George: Carl ); !+th "arren 5+rd; The Com+ng Chur-h Re,olut+on: 0mpo!er+ng
1eaders for the )uture; )lem+ng ?;Re,ell: ' D+,+s+on of 5a6er 5oo6 ?ouse:
Grand Rap+ds: 2+-h+gan *9(%: U;S;';
George: Carl ); !+th "arren 5+rd; N+ne Je#s to 0ffe-t+,e Small Group 1eadersh+p:
?o! la# leaders -an esta4l+sh d#nam+- and health# -ells: -lasses: or teams;
U;S;';: J+ngdom Pu4l+sh+ng: 1am4s Cree6 Road: P;O; 5o/ *8: 2ansf+eld: P'
%9..;
Geo6: Ong S!ee; Cell 1eader Intern Gu+de4oo6: The Cr+t+-al Path for Su--essful
1eadersh+p; Tou-h Pu4l+-at+ons: In-;: P;O; 5o/ %9888: ?ouston: Te/as: 3322*-
9888: U;S;';
G+44s: 0dd+e; Ten Gro!+ng Chur-hes: 2'RC 0urope: %* 7ueen I+-tor+a Street: 1ondon
0C*I *5G
8
?aml+n: @ud# Dr; "el-ome to <our )+rst Small GroupF U;S;';: I+-tor 5oo6sLSP
Pu4l+-at+ons: In-;;
?#4els: 5+ll; Inter'-t+ons Small Group Ser+es; 'UT?0NTICIT<: 5e+ng ?onest !+th God
and Others; AS+/ Sess+onsB; U;S;';: Konder,an Pu4l+sh+ng ?ouse: Grand Rap+ds:
2+-h+gan: *9(.&;
@ohnson: Jurt "; Small Group 0,angel+sm Gu+de: )or Su--essful Nurture and Outrea-h
2+n+str#; U;S;';: The Ne+gh4orhood ?ome 5+4le Stud#: %.*(( S;0; 93th ',enue:
Cla-6amas: OR 93&%(
@ohnson: Jurt "; Small Group Outrea-h A' Step-4#-step gu+de to su--essful Small Group
5+4le stud#B; U;S;';: Re,+e! and ?erald Pu4l+sh+ng 'sso-+at+on: ?agersto!n: 2D
2%3*&;
1ogan: Ro4ert; 5e#ond Chur-h Gro!th: '-t+on Plans for De,elop+ng a D#nam+- Chur-h;
U;S;';: )lem+ng ?; Re,ell: ' D+,+s+on of 5a6er 5oo6 ?ouse: Grand Rap+ds:
2+-h+gan *9(%;
1ogan: Ro4ert 0; and Short: 1arr#; 2o4+l+s+ng for Compass+on: 2o,+ng People +nto
2+n+str#: Un+ted States of 'mer+-a: )lem+ng ?; Re,ell: ' D+,+s+on of 5a6er 5oo6
?ouse CO;: Grand Rap+ds: 2+-h+gan *9%
1ond: @+mm# 5e#erle+n: 'nn: and others; Small Group 1eaders ?and4oo6: The Ne/t
Generat+on; U;S;';: InterIars+t# Press: Do!ners Gro,e: Ill+no+s;
2all+son: @ohn; Creat+,e Ideas for Small Groups +n the Chr+st+an Commun+t#; A2ethods for
Pra#er: 5+4le stud#: e/per+en-e--entred learn+ng and 4u+ld+ng relat+onsh+ps;B 0ngland:
S-r+pture Un+on: %.& C+t# Road: 1ondon 0C%I 2N@;
2all+son: @ohn; The Small Group 1eader; 1ondon: S-r+pture Un+on: %.& C+t# Road: 1ondon
0C%I 2N@
2arshal: Col+n; Gro!th Groups2 ' Tra+n+ng Course +n ?o! to 1ead Small Groups;
'ustral+a: 2atth+as 2ed+a: P;O; 5o/ 22(: J+ngsford NS" 2&.2;
2ead: 1oren 5; The On-e and )uture Chur-h: Re+n,ent+ng the Congregat+on for a Ne!
2+ss+on )ront+er; U;S;';: The 'l4an Inst+tute: In-;: *%2( Ne4ras6a ',enue: N":
"ash+ngton: DC 2&&%: %99*;
2- 5r+de: Neal ); ?o! to 5u+ld ' Small Groups 2+n+str#; U;S;';: Na,Press: P;O; 5o/
.(&&%: Colorado Spr+ngs: Colorado 8&9.(;
Ne+gh4our: Ralph "; @r; "+th @en6+ns: 1orna; "here Do "e Go )rom ?ere$: ' Gu+de4oo6
for the C011 GROUP C?URC?; Tou-h Pu4l+-at+ons: In-;: 5o/ %9888: ?ouston:
TG 3322*: U;S;';
N#>u+st: @ames ); and Juhats-he6: @a-6; 1ead+ng 5+4le D+s-uss+on; 0ngland: S-r+pture
Un+on: %.& C+t# Road: 1ondon 0C%I 2N@;
Paul+en: @on; Present Truth +n the Real "orld: The 'd,ent+st struggle to 6eep and share fa+th
+n a se-ular so-+et#; Canada: Pa-+f+- Press Pu4l+sh+ng 'sso-+at+on: 5o+se: Idaho:
Osha!a: Ontar+o: %99.;
Roe4ert: 0d; Cell 1eader Intern Gu+de4oo6: The Cr+t+-al Path for Su--essful 1eadersh+p;
U;S;';: Tou-h Pu4l+-at+on: In;: P; O; 5o/ %9888: ?ouston: Te/as: 3322*-9888;
83
S-h+lt: "; Claren-e; D#nam+- Small Groups: ?o! to 2a6e Them ?appen; U;S;';: Re,+e!
and ?erald Pu4l+sh+ng 'sso-+at+on: ?agersto!n: 2D 2%3*&
Sha!-hu-6: Norman and Jotler Ph+l+p; 2ar6et+ng for Congregat+ons: Choos+ng to Ser,e
People 2ore 0ffe-t+,el#; '4+ngdon Press: 2&% 0+ghth ',enue South: Nash,+lle: TN
.32&.;
Stro4el: 1ee; Ins+de the 2+nd of Un-hur-hed ?arr# T 2ar#; U;S;';: Konder,an Pu4l+sh+ng
?ouse: Grand Rap+ds: 2+-h+gan: %99.;
Sn#der: ?o!ard '; Rad+-al Rene!al: The Pro4lem of "+nes6+ns Toda#; U;S;';:
Tou-h Pu4l+-at+ons: P; O; 5o/ %9888: ?ouston: TG 3322*;
"agner: C; Peter; 1ead+ng <our Chur-h to Gro!thC The Se-ret of PastorLPeople Partnersh+p
+n D#nam+- Chur-h Gro!th; Co/ T "#man 1td: Read+ng: 5er6s: for 2'RC: %988
"arren: R+-6; The Purpose Dr+,en Chur-h: Gro!th "+thout Comprom+s+ng <our
2essage and 2+ss+on; U;S;';: Konder,an Pu4l+sh+ng ?ouse: Grand Rap+ds:
2+-h+gan: *9(.&;
"+ll+ams: Dan; Start+ng AT 0nd+ngB ' Small Group: for leaders T group mem4ers;
U;S;';: InterIars+t# Press: Do!ners Gro,e: Ill+no+s &(%(;
"ollen: 'l4ert @; God at "or6 +n Small Groups; 0ngland: S-r+pture Un+on: %.& C+t#
Road: 1ondon 0C%I 2N@: %98(;
88
Think Big Think S!"## G$O%&S
Small groups are +mportant; In !hat -ould 4e des-r+4ed as the t!o 4+ggest a-h+e,ements
s+n-e Creat+on - the esta4l+shment of the nat+on of Israel follo!+ng the 0/odus: and the
esta4l+shment of the Chr+st+an -hur-h follo!+ng the f+rst 'd,ent of Chr+st - God used small
groups +n a s+gn+f+-ant !a#; ?e has used them man# t+mes s+n-e: and no! ?e +s us+ng them
aga+n: as ?e prepares us for the 4+ggest e,ent of all - the Se-ond 'd,ent: and the esta4l+shment
of ?+s 6+ngdom;
Th+s manual e/pla+ns !hat small groups are: !hat the# do: and ho! the# !or6; It offers
pra-t+-al gu+dan-e on ho! #our -hur-h -an de,elop a small-group m+n+str# through !h+-h #ou
-an deepen #our relat+onsh+p !+th God: gro! +n #our relat+onsh+ps !+th other 4el+e,ers: and
share #our fa+th +n a ,er# natural !a# !+th peopIe !ho !ant to 6no! !hat Chr+st+an+t# +s all
a4out;
I share the 4el+ef that th+s +s the !a# to go; The manual +s !ell-!r+tten +n a -on-erned: sp+r+tual
and e,angel+st+- tone; The -ontent +s e/-ellent; There +s a good -olle-t+on of re-ommended
4oo6s and 4a-6-up mater+al; 5ert+l "+6lander: Pres+dent: Trans 0uropean D+,+s+on
' ,er# f+ne manual; It pro,+des a ,er# -lear gu+de for pastors and mem4ers +n Se,enth-da#
'd,ent+st -hur-hes to sh+ft to small-group 4ased -hur-hes; It demonstrates the 4+4l+-al 4as+s
for small groups and adds another ,o+-e to the urgent -all to re-ogn+se the small group as the
4as+- un+t of the -hur-h;
Peter Roennfeldt: 2+n+ster+al 'sso-+at+on Se-retar#: Trans 0uropean D+,+s+on
One of the ,er# 4est sur,e#s of the 4less+ngs of small group !or6 that I ha,e -ome a-ross;
"r+tten ,er# mu-h for the ord+nar# mem4er +n the lo-al -hur-h: and I th+n6 +t +s >u+te splend+d;
2art+n 1; 'nthon#: Personal 2+n+str+es: Trans 0uropean D+,+s+on
89
Th+s manual addresses a -on-ept of -hur-h l+fe !h+-h: +f follo!ed: -ould 4r+ng a4out the 6+nd
of Chr+st+an matur+t# and numer+-al gro!th !h+-h !e ha,e 4een pra#+ng for; Through small
groups the arms of the -hur-h -an em4ra-e e,er# mem4er !+th lo,e: and e,er# mem4er -an 4e
a-t+,el# +n,ol,ed +n ma6+ng ne! d+s-+ples for the 1ord;
Don 2-)arlane: Pres+dent: South 0ngland Conferen-e
Th+s manual 4# Pastor Da,+d Co/ f+lls a ,o+d +n our e,angel+st+- strateg# for the t!ent#-f+rst
-entru#;
The su--ess of the Protestant Reformat+on resulted +n large -ongregat+ons and -omple/
adm+n+strat+,e stru-tures; Th+s !as good 4ut !e m+ssed out out on the ,alue of the sp+r+tual
4ond+ng and d#nam+-s of small groups; The# !or6ed !onderfull# +n the da#s of the apostal+-
Chur-h and the# !+ll !or6 aga+n as !e ant+-+pate the se-on Pente-ost;
Ce-+l R; Perr#: Pres+dent: 5r+t+sh Un+on Conferne-e
/cknowledgements
I am not ent+rel# respons+4le for th+s manualF
To 4eg+n !+th: +t ma# ne,er ha,e 4een put together had +t not 4een for the mem4ers of
the f+rst small group I had the pr+,+lege of 4e+ng a part of !hen I !as asso-+ated !+th
the "+m4ledon 'd,ent+st -hur-h; The# made +t su-h a pos+t+,e e/per+en-e that m# e#es
!ere opened to the poss+4+l+t+es of small group m+n+str# +n the future;
S+n-e then: there ha,e 4een man# other people !ho ha,e 6ept the +dea al+,e +n our
-hur-hes 4# e/per+ment+ng !+th groups and shar+ng the+r e/per+en-es and -on,+-t+ons;
2# !+fe Ielda has 4een a spe-+al +nsp+rat+on as she has used her God-g+,en g+ft of
hosp+tal+t# at home: and led groups +n,ol,ed +n !omens m+n+str+es +n ,ar+ous pla-es;
's the ,+s+on of small group m+n+str# has gro!n and de,eloped more re-entl#: I ha,e
to than6 four +nd+,+duals +n part+-ular: Don 2-)arlane: for support+ng the emphas+s on
small groups +n the South 0ngland Conferen-eC and ?umphre# "alters: 'r+s
IontHal+des: and 0ll+s Guthr+e for the+r pra#ers and enthus+ast+- -omm+tment to ma6+ng
small groups happen; I am also grateful for the en-ouragement of the man# other
pastors and small group leaders !ho share the ,+s+on and are lead+ng the+r -ongrega-
t+ons +n the d+re-t+on of 4e-om+ng small group -hur-hes;
9&
' manual l+6e th+s +s not the eas+est 6+nd of 4oo6 to read: so I am +nde4ted to 1aurent
Gr+sel !ho has made +t eas+er !+th h+s +llustrat+ons: and to "end# Goodman !ho has
g+,en her -reat+,e talent to des+gn+ng the attra-t+,e -o,er; Than6s also to Donna
5ernard: m# se-retar#: !ho has 6ept the manus-r+pt +n proper order desp+te the man#
-hanges that ha,e 4een made to +t;
"hen all +s sa+d and done: ho!e,er: +f #ou f+nd an#th+ng of ,alue +n th+s ,olume: +t +s
than6s to the One !ho made us ?+s -h+ldren and 4rought us together as a fam+l# +n the
f+rst pla-e; Small groups are ?+s !a# of help+ng us - and ?+s fam+l# - to gro!;
9%