Skip to main content

Why Small Groups? Take This Group and Own It

Currently, I'm trying to post once or twice a week summaries of chapters from books I've read over the past few years. These are the books that have really informed my thinking on discipleship and small groups. Hopefully, they'll provide a good opportunity for you to think through some of these same thoughts.

Today, I'm looking at chapter three from the book Why Small Groups, a collection of small group essays compiled by C.J. Mahaney. This chapter, by Greg Somerville, is entitled, "Take This Group and Own It."

The big idea of this chapter is that a successful group is a group in which the members of the group take ownership of the group instead of simply relying on the group's leader to "make it happen." Somerville suggests three questions the members of a small group should ask themselves as they consider whether or not a healthy "ownership culture" exists in their group:
  • Do you think of your group as YOUR group?
  • Do you OWN your group and its vision?
  • Or, do you simply rent a chair on Thursday (insert your night) evenings?
Somerville says, "A small group doesn't belong to the leader. It belongs to God -- and to each member."

Attempting to help develop a biblical understand for Christian community, Somerville looks at 1 Peter 4:7-10 as a key teaching passage to help define the appropriate behavior for small group members.
The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.
Notice the clear list Peter gives us to help us understand how we should behave in our relationships with one another:
  • be clear minded
  • be self-controlled
  • love each other deeply (particularly as you look past each other's sins)
  • offer hospitality
  • use your gifts to serve each other
  • be gracious
A group that lives by this passage will most certainly be a wonderful community in which to share life. The fruit of a list like this is group ownership. If each group member takes it upon themselves to act this way, the group will function very efficiently. Somerville, closes out his essay with a long list of suggested contributions every group member should make to the group. Here is a summary:
  • Hunger to know God
  • Love for the unity of the church
  • Understand your "job description" as a group member
  • Assume your leader is not Sherlock Holmes (be willing to share, don't make him/her dig)
  • Share the bad stuff also
  • Have realistic expectations
  • Meet outside the meeting
  • Open your home
  • Open you mouth
  • Be constructive, not destructive
  • Laugh at the leader's jokes
  • Serve on the "advisory committee" (give your leader feedback)
  • Pray on the way
  • Give your gifts
  • Volunteer to serve
  • Expect "awe-full" meetings (anticipate meeting with God when you meet with your group)
  • Keep the mission in mind
Somerville's closing words are important:
It doesn't take a highly gifted leader to build a great group. It takes you. You must own it. You must pray for it and invest in it. Whether you feel qualified or not, you and every other group member must "use whatever gift he has received to serve others."

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Discussion Questions for Easter

Have several people ask the question, “What’s the most important thing you’ve ever done?”
Ask other people, “What do you hope to accomplish in the next several years of your life?”
Tell your class that today you’ll be talking about “life mission” or the one most important thing you do that drives everything else. Tell them that Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is the defining moment in history, so it should be the defining moment in our lives.
Read 1 Corinthians 15:12-19. How does the resurrection impact some of the crucial beliefs of Christianity? 
How would Christianity be different if there was no resurrection? How would you be different without the resurrection?
Read 1 Corinthians 15:50-58. What are some specific ways that the resurrection gives us hope?
If you had been a friend of Jesus when he was on earth, how would the resurrection have impacted your life? 
How do you think his followers then were effected by the resurrection?
Read 1 Corinthians 15:58. What do you t…

SOAPY Bible Study

In the past, I've written about and talked about the SOAP method of Bible study. This is a simple Bible study method which can be utilized by an individual or a small group. All you need is a passage of Scripture and 15-30 minutes (a journal is helpful).

Many churches use this method of Bible study for their groups. Some have modified the SOAP method by adding a Y. Read more about it below:


This Bible study is an intentional focused effort of growing in the understanding of the scriptures. This form of study will assist in the transformation of our inner lives as we mature in understanding and in faith.
Set aside 15 minutes every day for the study. You might want to take more time after you have gotten started. Don’t overload yourself in the beginning. Keep a “soapy” journal because there will be the need to write everyday. As you develop your routine, share what you are learning with your Discipleship Group, Sunday school class, Circle, other groups in which you participate, or …

21 Bible Passages With Which Every Small Group Leader Should Be Familiar

Matthew 5:23-24.
23"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

Luke 10:1-11.
1After this the Lord appointed seventy-two[a] others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. 4Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.

5"When you enter a house, first say, 'Peace to this house.' 6If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. 7Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to hous…