DON’T: Make your small group into its own church. Your small group is the front line of your church disciple making strategy; it is not a separate entity. If you really believe your church is on the wrong track unless you do certain things against the church’s wishes through your small group, then answer a few questions. First, are you sure you’re even right? Be careful here; we want to glorify God, not use the opportunities He gives us to feed our ego. Second, have you spoken to the church leadership about what you’re doing? You may be exactly what they are hoping for! Next, is your church REALLY missing the mark? If things are truly so bad that if you do what is required you’ll be doing the wrong thing, then you probably need to exit this organization. Why stay? You need to hold the church leadership up and tell your family “these are our leaders.” If you can’t do that, the battle isn’t how to lead a small group, but rather where God can use you for His purposes. Finally, be humble. Your ideas may be the best thing since Texas invented Barbecue, but if you’re going against the wishes of those in charge, you’re not building up your team and you’ll only end up miserable. Chances are, if you’re an innovator, someone will want to unleash your talents anyways so don’t force your ideas where they aren’t sought.
DO: Make Disciples. Engage Culture. Love People. No matter what curriculum you choose or is chosen for you, believers everywhere are free in Christ to make disciples. We speak words of truth, we live with love because of truth, and we connect with those God places around us to display the truth. It doesn’t matter if you attend a church with 10,000 people or 50. You can lead your group to honor Christ and bless others no matter what your church affiliation, geography, or language.
“The Great Commission” (also known as Disciple-Making) is the command Jesus laid out for His followers. We are to “Make Disciples” of all nations. We are to “Make Disciples” of all people, everywhere. He didn’t create two distinct categories of “Evangelism” and “Discipleship” that we see today (my guess is that was invented so someone could sell two books instead of one).
Just like Jesus, Christians for centuries have utilized small groups of believers as a practical way to provide support, encouragement, growth, and fellowship with one another as we make disciples together. Small groups in a contemporary church environment are just as effective in “Disciple-Making” today, but simply putting people in a group and having a staff member tell them what to do doesn’t make disciples. I believe that an effective small groups ministry is one that consistently makes disciples, engages the culture they find themselves in, and loves people. So this week, I give you five days of “The Do’s and Don’ts of Small Groups.”