Recently, I was commenting on a discussion on the Small Group Churches site about why small group ministries sometimes fail in churches. The author of the original post, +Andrew Mason, suggests three very good reasons this happens, but I believe there may be one big overarching reason.
I’ve seen many churches start small group “programs” like any other program in the church, but they fail to see that small groups are different. Small group community is really the environment where we carry out the mission Jesus gave us. As we go to make disciples and teach those disciples how to follow Jesus, our groups are the context for that to happen. 1 Corinthians 13 comes to mind. Where there are programs, they will fail; where there are man-made institutions, they will cease; where there are strategies and plans of human design, they will pass away. But authentic community (love) never fails.
I think there is a mindset change that happens in successful ministries, a change in how we think about small groups. I believe that effective churches look first at how they will reach and teach followers of Jesus and then they look at the best contexts for that to happen.
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Your Small Group Can Be a Fireplace (but it’s not the fire)