I have been a part of a few small groups in my life, with varying degrees of success. In some cases, there have been profound connections made, learning accomplished, and hearts changed. Unfortunately, there have also been experiences that were not as successful; awkward silences, “too perfect” answers, shallow conversation, and disrespectful participants. The variety in my experience has caused me to wonder, “What factors contribute to the success or failure of a small group ministry?”
Small groups can foster some of the most intimate and life-changing moments in a Christian’s life, even Jesus kept a small group of friends in his inner circle, but some Christians find this type of model difficult to emulate in our culture today.
A blog post by The Gospel Coalition entitled Building a Better Small Group, uses the lifestyle and spiritual practices of the English Puritans as a model for building spiritual community in our culture today. Author Joanne Jung argues that the Puritan’s focus on biblical literacy and soul care in the practice of conference, cultivated authentic community and intimate connection with God and his Word. She provides a list of questions used by the Puritans to further their understanding of God, open themselves up to hearing God’s voice, and connect with each other.
This month we are featuring a display about small group ministry. Check out some of the resources we have to offer on this subject.
What makes a successful small group?
How have your experiences shaped your views of small groups and authentic community?
What can small group leaders do to help make a small group successful? What can participants do?
Join the conversation, we want to hear your thoughts!