There is no such thing as a “small group” when it is focused on the presence, power, and purposes of Christ!

This morning I was reading Zechariah 4, where the prophet receives a vision from God about the rebuilding of the Temple. Verse 6 is probably on the Top 10 List of most quotable verses in the Bible:

“Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the Lord Almighty.
In this passage, might refers to military strength–strength in numbers, while power refers to individual strength. Neither has the capacity to get God’s work accomplished. It can only by done by the power of the Holy Spirit.

We often say there is strength in numbers. I’ve often said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. It’s the only thing that ever has.” I’ve used illustrations of the power of a team, like horses bridled together who have a synergistic effect in pulling a load. But none of that comes close to the effect when we join God in carrying out his work!

There’s no strength in numbers unless the Lord is leading the way!

We usually do ministry by starting with our own strength, then adding more people to form a team, and then, when all that is still not accomplishing as much as we’d like–when we start getting frustrated–we pray. Instead, we should start with the power of the Holy Spirit to carry out God’s work, then develop a team, and then divvy up the tasks to gifted individuals.

In verse 10, the Lord tells Zechariah, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand” (NLT). (Zerubbabel was the chief engineer for the project.)

Don’t be anxious when a ministry or small group gets off to a slow start. God rejoices to see new ministry begin when it’s in partnership with him. He loves an entrepreneurial spirit! (God is, after all, an entrepreneur himself.)

This Temple was smaller than the original. As they built the foundation, it was obvious to observers that this Temple would not be as impressive as the one built by Solomon. Bigger is not always better. God doesn’t rejoice in the size of a church, organization, or ministry; he rejoices in the work itself, in the process. He rejoices in a job being done well, with integrity (the significance of the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand).

It is not by our own work or strength or action anyway, but only by the working of God’s Spirit that really matters. God rejoices when we partner with him and do his work by the power of his Spirit. He accomplishes far more through this partnership than we could ever accomplish by our own power! More than we can even imagine!

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Michael Mack has been involved in small group ministry as a pastor, writer, trainer, and speaker for more than 25 years. He founded in 1995 and started Small Group Leadership in 2012. He became the 12th editor of Christian Standard magazine in 2017 and continues to speak in churches about small groups, discipleship, and leadership. He lives in Pewee Valley, Kentucky (just outside Louisville), with his wife Heidi. They have four young adult children. Michael enjoys mountain and road biking with a group of friends. See the "About Michael Mack" page under About Us for more about him.

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