Whether you call them home groups, affinity groups, life groups, or any plethora of other names, the fact remains that the key to effectively creating community in the local church is through the meeting together of men and women who are hungry to live out what they read in the Bible.
Small groups can be a daunting place for even the bravest of souls. When you cram a ton of strangers into a small living room on a weeknight, there’s no telling what sort of issues may be raised which can lead to a feeling of general uneasiness in jumping in altogether.
The small group leader is always looking for ways to make the group more vibrant, more relevant, and a lot less awkward. There isn’t one algorithm leaders can use across the board that works to address each and every intricate detail. The struggles involved in creating a group that flourishes aren’t for nothing. There are some things you can begin doing to enact change in all of your groups.
Make the Bible the core of every group
Working through topical studies or DVD series isn’t a bad thing but when they replace the Bible it’s time to evaluate what the point of the small group is in the first place. Are you merely creating space for those who have a hard time fitting in, to find friends? Or, are you doing something far more important when you gather together?
Small groups should be a place where life change is happening and that only comes through a careful and intentional study of the Bible. That is where the anchor will hold firm when the trials and storms of life hit. When the leader of a small group points others to the Word, transformation begins to happen. It may happen slowly, but by the grace of God, it will happen.
Move your group from knowledge to action
Something strange begins to happen when you move people from merely looking at words on a page to unpacking what that means for them in their everyday lives. The Spirit, through the Word, begins to give them a passion for service. He begins to prick their hearts with things that stir deep emotions. Whether that looks like service to an elderly community, a homeless shelter, or to the local church, the Bible commands us all to put our faith into action. (Jas. 2:18)
A second, often more difficult, trend can also begin to take place in these newly re-formed groups. Vulnerability and transparency become the new normal as the Holy Spirit begins to break down the barriers once resurrected in the hearts of your people. Where secrets and darkness reigned, light begins to break forth and lives begin to change. Confession and forgiveness becomes an integral facet of the group.
These two simple, yet significant changes go hand in hand. When you point those under your leadership to the God who eagerly waits to speak to them, they find rest for their weary souls. They find hope for their darkest of pains and joy for the weightiest of fears.
© 2018 Focus on the Family.