Dear Church Family and Friends,
Who are the people that are involved in small groups? The short answer is: anyone who wishes to grow in his / her relationship with the Lord. A longer answer: anyone who wants to experience life as part of the Body of Christ, to enjoy the encouragement of brothers and sisters in Christ who love them, to unite in prayer with others for the deepest spiritual needs, to have their witness strengthened, to see the Gospel bear fruit in their lives, to build friendships that are centered on magnifying the work of Christ. But let’s be specific.
A key person in any SG is the Leader, who might be called an “advisor” or “guide.” This is a mature Christian who has a solid grasp of the Gospel and can follow the teaching of Scripture given by the pastor each week. He or she does not have to be a teacher but should be able to guide a discussion about what has been taught. They will need to be able to keep the group on track and be responsive to the direction of the Holy Spirit. They should be able to recognize when a group member is talking too much or not enough and help bring balance. They should also help foster relationships amongst group members. And because they are acting as an extension of the pastor’s ministry, they will meet with him regularly to pray for and assess the group’s progress. Of course, training for this would be offered.
SG members should all be partaking of the same pulpit ministry, either members or attendees of the same church, though exceptions might be considered. They would have the opportunity to choose what group to join, and as long as Christ is central and the group is not exclusive, they might well join a group of people with other common interests, though they would be encouraged to meet new people. In order for discussions to be open and appropriate, minors would not be part of adult groups, but SGs might see people in their 20s and 70s together (I hope they do!). Spouses wouldn’t need to attend as a couple, though they shouldn’t attend separate groups. Ultimately, SG members should simply be people wishing to grow as Christians, understanding that they are part of a group that wants to see the image of Christ in each person, and are willing to share in the process of grace with other believers. And I hope that’s all of us!
For His glory and your joy,