Last Sunday afternoon we had our quarterly Adult Sunday School/Biblical Community Leadership meeting. I was amazed with the turnout for the meeting, for the online webcast participation and the viewing of the archive. We focused much of our attention at that meeting on growing in a time of transition. Sure we could choose to wait on the call of a new pastor, but waiting in Round Rock for a better day to grow seems foolish at best.
Which leads me to the first blog article I want to share with you. "How People Grow...In Groups" by Eric Geiger reminds us of some leadership and small group fundamentals. In the article Geiger reminds us of an important leadership principle, "God brings about transformation as godly leaders apply the truth to our hearts while we are in a teachable posture." In the blog Geiger points out that research confirm your group matters. "From a research lens, people in small groups pray and confess their sins more regularly, share the gospel more confidently, give more generously, and serve more sacrificially than those not in a small group."
If you are a sociologist this would come as no huge surprise. According to the Oxford Centre for Staffing and Leadership Development, "Most theorists, researchers and practitioners agree that five to seven members is the optimum for leaderless groups. In the case of led groups, as for academic discussion, the maximum for member satisfaction according to students (NUS 1969) is 10 to 12" Now, I don't personally know the Oxford Centre (British), but I do know Jesus and he choose 12. It is nice when research agrees with Jesus.
Geiger's blog outlines a simple process. First, develop leaders. Leaders develop leaders. He has some good things to say about how faith is caught as much as it is taught. This is starting to sound like Biblical Community talk. Every leaders should have an apprentice leader. Second, Launch New Groups. Geiger states, "If a church is not launching new groups, the church is not giving new people and unconnected people a clear opportunity to live in Christian community." More Biblical Community talk. Each class should have a plan to grow not just larger, but a new small group. Finally, Geiger reminds us that we should feed people the truth. It is more than just being in a small community, the whole point is to be in a life changing Biblical Community.
Ok, I get it, but I think there is one more things that we have to focus on. Geiger touches on it, but I want to put the spot light on it. Our leaders can be leading other to be leaders. We can start new groups to be inclusive and welcome new members and we do a great job of teaching the truth. Something is missing..... (thinking smoke is coming out of my ears).... OUTREACH/EVANGELISM
We (You and I) have to be willing to invite. If contact with the truth of Christ in a small group can and does change people it stands to reason we have be in the invitation/greeting business. How do you lead the average small group member to OUTREACH/EVANGELISM? In "8 Steps to Penetrating Lostness Through New Groups", Clyde Hall give us some tangible steps our leadership (example) and group members (disciples) can do.
In the blog post Hall has a video presentation that if you have the 15 to 20 minutes is worth watching and I recommend that you do. However let me share his list of 8 Steps.
- Pray to know God’s heart for the lost.
- Put names and faces on lostness in your Jerusalem… and to the ends of the earth.
- Pray for laborers. (Matthew 9:35-38)
- Commission and equip teams (2 or more people) to start new groups.
- Pray for God to open your eyes to see where He is working and join Him. (John 4:35)
- Pray for open doors. (Colossians 4:2-6)
- Invite people to listen to God, learn from Him, and come to Christ. (John 6:45)
- Tell your own story of what good things Christ has done for you. (Mark 5:18-20)
Not a difficult list, but number 4, number 7 and number 8 present real problems. Not that they are difficult steps but that they require personal action. Our churches outreach is only as good as our collective personal desire and willingness to share our story and what Christ has done for us and encourage others that he could do the same or more for them.
I wonder if Jesus stood on the hill over looking Round Rock (SH-45 Flyway) would he weep..... Could Round Rock experience a moving of the Spirit like Pentecost.... I think so, if the disciples are out in the marketplace sharing a loving Christ who is passionate about Round Rock. See you Sunday, invite a friend. FBCRR and the love of Christ exhibited here should not be the best kept secret in town.