SMALL GROUP MINISTRY (part 1)

Posts in this series
  1. SMALL GROUP MINISTRY (part 1)
  2. SMALL GROUP MINISTRY (part 2)

SMALL GROUP MINISTRY

WHAT ARE SMALL GROUPS

Def.: "A Christian small group is an intentional face-to-face gathering of 3-12 people on a regular time schedule with a common purpose of discover and growing in the possibilities of the abundant life in Christ".

 

Important Factors

  • Size (10-12 best for discussion)
  • Time (at the least bi-weekly)
  • Purpose (focus on specific theme/topic important)

 

TYPES OF GROUPS

a. Study Groups

*primarily information gathering and understanding

  1. Bible study groups

  2. Book study groups

b. Sharing Groups

  • primarily committed to building relationships with an emphasis on self-disclosure and support for one another
  • contrast to encounter or therapy groups

c. Ministry Groups

  1. Committees (organizational function)

  2. Accountability Groups

  3. Mission Groups (task oriented)

    • inside the church

    • outside the church

  4. Covenant Groups

    • blending of various components including study, sharing and accountability with a focus on discipleship with prayer

    • purpose: to be obedient to Jesus Christ

  5. House Church

    • typically a collection of individuals (15-50) who worship together as well as having some financial relationship
      (i.e., mutual giving or a particular mission project). This can be the seeds for new congregations.

 

HOW TO BEGIN A SMALL GROUP

a. Bottom-Up – "Pre-Contracting"

  • idea starts with individual (possibly leaders)
  • recruit 2/3 to work with you
  • brainstorm issues

     

    • time, resources, purpose, possible participation
  • invite people personally and share ideas
  • determine leadership pattern

     

    • single
    • partnership
    • rotating
  • share resources
  • initial meeting establishes roles/patterns
  • evaluate first meeting and follow-up no shows
  • important to promote diversity within groups

b. Top-Down – Large Scale Program

  • develop church wide program to expose congregation to small group ministry
  • at the conclusion, determine interest in continuing this kind of experience
  • organize groups and delegate to pre-trained leader

 

STAGES IN GROUP LIFE

a. Pre-Contract

  • work done in advance of the first meeting to clarify goals and recruit participants

b. Orientation

  • depends on pre-contracting
  • issue of acceptance and value of membership

c. Power and Control

  • varies with time as well as subtle stage
  • testing various behaviors/responses
  • developing a "pecking order"
  • necessary stage to evolve through to become cohesive group

d. Trust

  • a move from "I" to "we, us"
  • different levels indicated by level of communication

e. Differentiation (middle to end of 2nd year)

  • a stage where the purpose/goals/leadership changes as the needs and interests of its participants changes
  • possible time for disbanding

f. Conclusion or New Beginning

  • need to recognize what has been accomplished
  • time of sharing what has happened
  • time of prayer for future
  • or possibility of recontracting with new people and/or purpose
  • or one group may spawn several groups