Small Groups: When?

Dear Church Family and Friends,

I need to address one of the most common concerns that churches have when someone starts talking about small groups.  You might know of churches where this concern was raised so vigorously that it threatened to divide the church and ultimately kept everyone from experiencing SG ministry.  (I can think of a couple.)  This concern is, at root, a fear, and it is a fear I wish to put to rest.

Sometimes church members are afraid that SGs will replace one of the regular preaching services.  I understand this fear.  After all, who thinks that fewer church services are a good thing?  Who would want less of the Word of God?  Me, least of all!  So, though I hope I have described SGs in a way that shows them to be a biblical-though-different kind of church “service,” as well as a deeper experience of the preached Scriptures, I do not favor SGs competing with the church’s schedule.[1]

I should, however, mention one particular area of any church’s schedule that might be affected – the mid-week Prayer Meeting.  It’s no secret that, in most churches, the Prayer Meeting sees the lowest attendance of any of the regularly scheduled services.  If this is because the church holds a low view of prayer, then God help that church!  It’s mostly dead already!  But, sometimes, it is simply due to people’s schedules.  In that case, this is an area where SGs can serve to promote what prayer meetings are supposed to be all about.

For example:  If you had to choose between a church where 25% of the members met to pray in the middle of the week or a church where maybe 50% to 75% were meeting in small groups that you knew were praying, though at different times, which would you prefer?   It may be a false choice, but multiple SGs meeting and praying at different times might mean more total people praying together than one poorly-attended meeting.  And those SGs could meet at any time the SG leader chose, as long as it didn’t conflict with the church’s regular schedule.  Of course, this is no reason to ignore the mid-week prayer meeting, but it is a chance to think about whether there is another, perhaps better way of serving the Lord and one another than what we’re already doing.

For His glory and your joy,

Aaron Carpenter


[1] This includes our regular preaching services, as well as revival meetings, missions conferences, and other special services.

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One Response to Small Groups: When?

  1. Pingback: May 19,2013: Seasons of Ministry |

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