The following is excerpted from an article listing five myths about small groups. Thom Ranier wrote this excellent piece. You can read all of it by clicking here.
Myth 1: Your current small-group configuration is permanent.
Jesus’ small-group configuration was for about three years.The one method of a group represented by Jesus and the apostles would not be constituted as the killer app. But the group was a critical component. More was coming.
The configuration and context changed after the Lord’s ascension. New clusters developed. New people were introduced into the groups. A transformational group is one that adjusts as needed to encourage growth of the group and growth in the members of the group.
Myth 2: Small-group meeting locations are limited to church facilities or member homes.
If small groups are transformational, the math is simple: More Groups = More Life Change.
A practical question is, Where are small groups already naturally meeting? Service and leadership teams are one example. They gather in or around your church facility to take care of church responsibilities. With unlimited possibilities for the time and place of small-group community, your church can leverage every meeting for life change.
Myth 3: Your facilitator must be a highly trained spiritual superstar.
Having a group of excellent teachers is good. But more than any other trait, small-group facilitators and Sunday School leaders need love for the people if you want to have transformational small groups.
The goal of “excellent teaching” should be replaced with “effective teaching.” Excellent teaching is characterized through teacher led and dominated class experience. Effective teaching is based upon taking class participants from where they are presently to a preferred future.
Myth 4: Small-group organization must be complex.
The small-group system must not become so rigid that it is unchangeable. I’ve both served effective churches with small groups and traditional Sunday School as our small-community delivery system. Complexity (which can be avoided) comes when the same leaders, in the same rooms, with mostly the same participants, spend extended time together. The lack of focus on a simple system that is easily reproducible results in a self-centered system that becomes inflexible over time.
Myth 5: Only pastors are qualified to administer pastoral care.
Unfortunately, many churches have adopted a clergification model of ministry. They consider missionaries the supremely spiritual people who go to far-flung places to preach. Pastors and staff are next, and they are paid to do the local ministry. Then there’s the rest of us who “pay, pray, and get out of the way.” The only problem—this is not a biblical system.
Churches practicing transformational community expect that ministry can occur even when a person with “Reverend” before their name is not present. God knew we would all need a form of pastoral care, and so He formed the body of Christ with the necessary gifts and abilities to share His grace from one person to another. No professional degree required. Transformational small groups are alive with ministry to one another.