by Eddie Mosley
Do you have objectives for your small groups? Is the vision clear for group leaders and members? Over the last few years, some churches have helped groups know and remember their purpose by adding descriptive purpose words to the title of their groups. Life Groups, Community Groups, Bible Study Groups, or Missional Groups. This last title caught my attention, as it not only helps to clarify the biblical purpose of groups, but it also aligns well with my church’s purpose statement, Find Life-Live Sent. We need to address the “new movement” and how to be sure our groups are accomplishing this purpose. What about your groups?
You already know that small groups are not limited to Bible study, community, service, or support; they are designed to be an environment that enables life transformation for Christ followers. So how do you help your groups remember their purpose? What are some steps you take to evaluate your groups’ accomplishment of this purpose? Through research at our church, we discovered two catalysts that stand out as life transformation experiences, as well as which groups can be essential in helping to walk through with their members. The two catalysts are mission trips (Live Sent) and life crises. While we can’t plan a life crisis, groups can be there for the individual. But we can schedule, plan, and promote opportunities for members to Live Sent via mission trips!
There is a motto you will hear often around my church: “The more you grow the more you serve. The more you serve the more you grow.” Knowing the results of the research, we knew we had to plan mission trips and encourage participation for more than just helping another church, city or community. The motivation had to clearly communicate that this experience had the potential of changing the participants’ lives, as well as serving the churches and communities for which the trip was planned. To increase the emphasis on the importance of missional efforts of groups, we challenged every small group leader to participate in a mission experience within the next two years. If for some reason the leader could not serve on a mission experience, the group was asked to sponsor someone from the group to represent their group.
This challenge was met with mixed responses, but in the end a large percentage of groups were able to meet the challenge. Celebration of what God was doing in and through the mission trips was communicated over the years at each leadership training event and weekly newsletter, which included stories from the various trips.
How can you help your groups live missionally?
How can you partner with your missions ministry area to plan ahead and promote mission opportunities?
What could be a goal for your church’s groups to Live Sent over the next two years?
Eddie has served as Small Groups Pastor at LifePoint Church, a multi-site campus in Smyrna, TN, since 2005. His enthusiasm for seeing life change happen in the lives of individuals in his church, neighborhood and community is infectious. Eddie is author of Connecting in Communities, Understanding the Dynamics of Small Groups and various other articles on practical approaches to reaching people for Bible study. Eddie earned a MDiv at Southern Seminary and a DMin at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a sought after speaker for small group ministry as well as neighborhood impact. His passion is to help pastors and leaders develop strategy to implement Small Groups in the local church which build community that impacts their communities.