Excellent Introduction Into “Why?” Any Church Should Have Small Groups
I don’t know of a better study guide than this one to begin the process of training facilitators of small groups in the local church. I have used this little guide many times over the years and find that it lends itself to the great dynamics of what it takes to build a healthy. It contains 7 lessons written by pastors with over 100 years of experience in serving the local church in the context of small groups. Their ultimate goal is to help your church be a church of small groups, rather than just with small groups.
1) C. J. Mahaney writes the opening chapter and delineates the fact that healthy small groups result in a community of believers that grows in their sanctification, mutually cares for one another, shares intimate fellowship, and experiences and expresses various out workings of the spiritual gifts.
2) James Loftness addresses what biblical fellowship really looks like, as well as what it doesn’t look like.
3) Greg Somerville writes about the many ways that the members of the small group may commit themselves to the group using their gifts, talents, abilities, and passion to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit to build up the Christian community.
4) Mark Mullery builds a case for the complementarian characteristics of a great leader – committed, of proven character, submitted, having a love, in a commendable marriage (if applicable), trained, consistent in the spiritual disciplines, able to lead, a tither, and male.
5) Mickey Connolly deals with the “art of care and correction. He provides some great insights into resolving conflicts, confronting sin in others, and confessing our own sins – in order to create a community of repentance and restoration.
6) John Butler looks at how to challenge your group toward outreach and assimilation – to never be comfortable – but missional.
7) Dave Harvey writes an excellent chapter on the different “viruses” that can attack a group and how we can build up the local church body as a community that works together for the common good of the church.
8) Walt Russell pens the appendix, which should not be overlooked. He writes an excellent article addressing how to properly interpret the Scriptures, and then apply them. In essence he says, “The meaning of a text never changes. Our first goal is to discover this fixed thing. In contrast, the significance of the text to me and to others is very fluid and flexible.”
All the sessions are based on Biblical passages, and approximately 10 questions per chapter for group discussion based on the reading, and Scripture references discussed by each author. Each chapter contains sidebars, which contain quotes, verses, passages for further study, and helpful suggestions and ideas for further discussion. I recommend this resource highly for anyone who is interested in “Why” you should have small groups in your church – it will motivate you to begin right away!