Renewed Vision for Small Group Ministry
By Larry Kreider
It’s amazing how quickly small group meetings become boring! Why does this happen? We stop asking the Father to renew our vision and end up doing the same old stuff every week. New traditions can crystallize quickly. When we neglect to hear a fresh word from the Father to see what He wants to do among us, small group rigor mortis sets in.
Rigor mortis is the stiffening of the body after death. If we are careless, our groups can slide into the first stages of spiritual rigor mortis. Jesus told the Pharisees that He only did what He saw the Father doing (John 5:19). He was in constant relationship with His Father in heaven, listening to His voice.
Listen to God’s Voice
When I was a new leader, a young couple in our group called me an hour before a meeting, “We can’t come tonight, we have to do lawn work.”
I muttered to myself, “Isn’t our group more important than lawn work?” With a complete lack of compassion and hefty dose of pride, I continued mumbling, “If they were committed, they’d get their priorities straight.”
Then the Lord got my full attention with an innovative thought. “Let’s take the entire group to their home and help them!” Working together, hand-in-hand on their lawn, was a blast! We followed what the Father was doing in the lives of this young couple (building a relationship with them) and the Lord honored our obedience.
One of the small groups in our city recently realized they were spending too much time focused on themselves rather than on serving hurting people in their community. So, they decided to meet every other week at a local coffee shop, hang out and talk to people in the community. They are enjoying this time at the coffee shop because it is what the Father is doing among them.
Understand Your Small Group’s “Season”
Healthy small group will focus on prayer, evangelism and discipleship (spiritual parenting). There are seasons when you will emphasize one above the others. Which season is your group in now?
Two times during the past eighteen months, our small group sent out its members to help start a new group. Now the remaining members feel we are in a season of personal transition. We are praying for everyone to find the next step for his or her life. This is something the Father is doing in our group! We love it! There is a sense of the life of Christ among us.
Be Sensitive to the Holy Spirit
A small group in Canada, sensitive to the burden they were feeling for unsaved relatives and friends, began to pray for these loved ones. Upon returning home after a meeting, one woman found her husband in deep repentance. He told her he was sitting at the kitchen table and found himself under such deep conviction that he fell off his chair, onto the floor, repenting for his backslidden condition. This small group followed what the Father was doing among them and reaped the fruit of their obedience.
At another meeting where some people were feeling sick, the leaders wisely discerned what the Father wanted to do . . . to move as a healer. Hands were laid on those who were sick and prayers of faith were verbalized (James 5:16). What happened? The Lord stretched out His hand to heal. After all, this is what the Father wanted to do. They simply gave Him the opportunity.
Develop your Group’s Personality and Focus
Each family group has its own personality and focus. Remember, without a progressive vision, God’s people perish (Proverbs 29:18). Without a clear vision of what the Father is doing in your small group, there is a tendency to become lethargic. Do not allow it to happen! Honor your leaders and then watch to see what the Father is doing among you. Share what you see with your leaders and your small group. Expect to experience the life of Christ among you! It sounds a bit like the book of Acts, doesn’t it?
About Larry Kreider
Larry has spent the past four decades training leaders to make disciples with the small group concept. Larry serves as the international director of DOVE International, a worldwide network of over 1,000 churches in 26 nations. Larry has written more than 40 books and travels extensively teaching and imparting practical discipleship to leaders globally. Read about Larry or catch up on Larry’s blog.