Monday, June 22, 2009

SMALL GROUPS: COOKIE CUTTERS MIGHT NOT WORK

Small Groups/house churches are special tools for today's church. If Sunday night at the building works for congregations, then praise God. For me, small groups have meant new life for Memorial and for my spirit. Sunday nights had become Jr. church; Sr. was the morning service. Small Groups have put the all important connection factor into the family which is enhanced by the Sunday morning reunion.

A mistake Memorial made at the onset of the Small Group move (and I was the leader) was we tried to make all groups fit the same mold. This is a typical leadership move as we tend to think ours is the best composite of all ideas. Wrong. Mine wasn't even the best idea for me.

Through belonging to about six groups over the years, we finally hit what works for our group...prayer. We pray. I avoided prayer when I began ministry. How boring especially when there was so much work to do. Yet, our small group gathers to pray. Two of our people have yet to pray aloud, but they are praying just the same.

I know of no other group at Memorial which does the format we do. I don't even know of any in other congregations. I hear of variations of formats and approaches even to the extent that some don't attend a small group except their favorite TV show or their workbench at home. Awesome. The Sunday night imperative was created by us; not God.

Small Groups are a blessing to the church. They seem to work better when we let those involved work out the best approach for their people. The cookie cutter is a good idea for keep dough on the sheet in decorative form. It isn't a good tool for the wide range of heart and spirit needs among the people being reformed into the image of Christ.

3 comments:

Charlie Curran said...

Terry

Great post... There is more than one way to do this...God is bigger than one working idea we find in a book or a conference

I love the blog...You encourage me daily

Charlie Curran

Leon Mission Effort said...

yeah, I'm definitely very opinionated about Sunday night's, but I have always loved your positive attitude on this blog and I will try to learn from it:)

As far as small groups go, the purpose of small groups are as varied as the people in them. Some need fellowship groups, others want essentially a Bible study, some make them just times of prayer and still others are evangelistic. "Birds of a feather flock together", so you don't typically have to worry about "small group splits" unless someone is "assigning" small groups.

In the end, I think it depends on the church, the needs of the community and the goals that the congregation has in that community. In our Catholic dominate background, small groups can be very powerfully used as an evangelistic tool, while accomplishing some of the other things as well.

The best thing about all of this is if it's done in faith and to His glory, God will take care of all that we mess up! The key is trusting Jesus to plant His church!!! msg

1 Middle Man said...

Thanks for the encouragement to pray, Terry -- such a critically important part of meeting that we tend to gloss over...much like the Lord's supper is some of our services. Can't do it! :-)

Don Middleton