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Small Groups: More Than a Meeting

Friday, August 26, 2016

It’s easy to define success as a small group by getting everyone in the same place for two hours on a regular basis and leaving with no one upset at anyone else. As leaders, sometimes we feel that’s all we’ve got the bandwidth for. We need to remember that even in our weakness, God desires to use us for much more than that – to see his kingdom advance and the new community Jesus establishes lived out among us and through us!

One of the ways we as leaders can have our horizons broadened for our groups is to think of small groups as “more than a meeting.” Regular meetings are typically good connecting points and places where our relationships with each other and with God can be nurtured. But true community is often lived out beyond the group. In that vein, here are a few ideas of things that may begin to happen as the grace of Jesus impacts your group and makes you into those who truly love each other and your neighbors. Many important things happen during the meetings themselves, but these all occur outside them. Pray for things like this in your groups:

You know you’re a small group when …

1. A non-leader in the group calls to follow-up on something someone shared in the group.
2. People linger after the group meeting past when you were hoping to be asleep.
3. Two families connect outside of the group just as friends.
4. Someone comes to the group during an argument or just after a break-up to find a safe place.
5. The group serves in the church together as a group.
6. Someone shares a sin struggle with another member that they haven’t shared with anyone else.
7. You spend a holiday with someone else in the group.
8. A non-leader engages other group members in serving alongside him.
9. You drop in on each other unannounced or unscheduled.
10. You use group-text or e-mail to share about things beyond when/where to meet.

What other things have you seen in your groups that have made you realize you were really becoming a small group and more than a meeting? Share in the comments!


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Recommended Reading

You'll find most of my recommended books available in the Guest Center at Southwood.

  • You Can Change
    You Can Change
    Tim Chester

    How do we mortify sin? How do we address the sin in our lives that reignite like a trick birthday candle we thought we had already blown out of our lives? This is a careful and thoroughly theological book that is hopeful without avoiding honesty. It is practical without being legalistic. It gets to the root of the sinful areas of our lives without offering a prescriptive regimen to hide behind avoiding the grace that has the only true power to teach “us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” Titus 2:11-14

  • Relationships: A Mess Worth Making
    Relationships: A Mess Worth Making
    Timothy Lane & Paul Tripp

    Small groups would be easy if weren’t for the people in the group! This book will help equip you to see your own sin first and provide the courage and humility to address it in others.

  • The Heart of a Servant Leader

    This is a collection of letters written by Jack Miller to people experiencing real-life concerns and struggles. Through these gracious and honest letters you will learn how to humbly offer to others (and yourself!) hope, repentance, and courage that flows from the truth of the gospel of grace.  Though this isn’t a “how to” book full of nifty steps to Your Best Gospel Life Now. It’s a glimpse into the heart of a person who has found food at the Cross, and you watch (and learn) as he humbly points others to the feast.

  • Comforts From The Cross
    Comforts From The Cross
    Elyse M. Fitzpatrick

    This 31 day devotional will bring you to the foot of the cross to remember and celebrate the truth of the gospel of grace, and develop skills that will help “inform, free, gladden, and enliven your soul every day.” Becoming proficient in applying the Gospel of grace to our own hearts is a key skill that is well worth our effort to develop.

Recommended Listening

  • Christ PCA - Nashville
    Scott Sauls and CPC Staff

    Listen to sermons from Senior Pastor Scott Sauls and other CPC pastors at a sister church.

  • Lookout Mountain PCA
    Joe Novenson and LMPC Staff

    Check out sermons by Senior Pastor Joe Novenson and other LMPC pastors at a sister church.

  • Steve Brown Etc.
    Steve Brown

    Steve Brown’s unique blend of orthodoxy and controversy, humor and profundity, and a refusal to play religious games will give you permission you have needed to stop being so uptight. And even if it’s for 30 minutes, you just might experience radical freedom, infectious joy and maybe even a bit of surprising faithfulness.

Recommended Links

  • Tim Chester: reformed spirituality and missional church
    Tim Chester

    Tim has an incredible way of applying the Gospel of grace that is both practical and honest with a consistent skillful affinity to point us to Jesus. He is director of The Porterbrook Institute; a church planter with The Crowded House in Sheffield, UK; and the author of over a dozen books including Total Church and You Can Change.

  • Of First Importance
    Living Each Day in the Good of The Gospel

    Here you will find a growing collection of gospel-centered quotes to help reorient your thoughts toward the splendor and grandeur of the person and work of Jesus.