Thursday, January 21, 2010

1/2 the Small Groups this Semester

It looks like one half of our small group leaders are not going to be leading a small group during the next semester. This means that PCC will be offering one half the number of groups normally offered.

Some of our leaders simply need a break, one couple is being transferred to the west coast, and another couple is about to have their first baby, still others are encountering issues related to demands at their place of employment. This is normal & natural and is one of the reasons we offer small groups on semester cycles – it provides a Sabbath rest for our leaders that is built-in to the system (making it easy to take advantage of, preventing burnout).

Fewer groups is not all bad, and may actually be better for us right now. They will be easier to administrate, plus it is much safer for the church to offer fewer groups (if need be) that are being led by leaders who are trusted than it is to offer dozens of groups being led by leaders we don’t know very well. For example, I could make an announcement on Sunday morning asking anyone who is interested in leading a group to come forward and then release them to do so, but it would be a recipe for disaster. Small group leaders must be properly trained first. It is essential that all small group leaders have full buy-in to PCC's vision.

There is a reason why the Bible says, “know them which labor among you” (1 Thessalonians 5:12). This means church leaders or laborers (whether that be staff members, teachers, small group leaders, deacons, etc), should be proven before being released into an oversight capacity or teaching ministry. If we offer fewer groups (than normal) this semester it is safer for us and more edifying to the body than it would be if we offered more groups that were being led by people who had not met the criteria of an approval process.

We have made that mistake in the past… and will never make it again.

Having said that, I must confess that we have been most UNSUCCESSFUL in the area of recruiting and developing additional small group leaders. The best method for expanding a small groups ministry is by ‘apprenticing’ and ‘developing’ future small group leaders ‘within’ the context of existing small groups. This is where we have failed.

Small groups (in an of themselves) are NOT the goal. The goal is to MAKE DISCIPLES. How is that best achieved? No matter how cute our mission statements are, no matter how clever our methodology is, and no matter how desperate we are to see our programs work, the goal is to make disciples. All that is really needed is a Bible and a godly mentor.

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