Small Group Philosophy

As I think about small groups and what they mean to me, I find my answer in how Christ himself did ministry. Jesus had his group of twelve that he spent the last three years of his life doing life together. In his journey with these twelve men I saw three main ideas that pop up that translate into what I see small groups accomplishing today. I see teaching, being together with others, and challenging each other to grow.

Teaching

One of the main tenants of small groups is in the teaching that takes place. Jesus was always preparing the disciples by teaching them along the way. In his dissertation on the teaching and multiplying of small groups, Geoffery Gyer writes, “When Jesus sent his disciples on short-term experiences of spreading the word of God, he did not do so without some level of preparation.”[1] Jesus prepared the disciples to go out and spread the good news. Jesus did this through small group teaching and instruction.

Togetherness

In their book Discovering Discipleship, Blevins and Maddox, talk about this idea that small groups foster togetherness. Blevins and Maddox write, “Small groups also provide a context for deepening relationships and connectedness.”[2] We see this in Jesus when he took twelve guys from different backgrounds and ways of life then brought them together. When we practice small groups in our churches, we should strive to bring people together in order to do life with each other. It is in doing life together we can learn from each other and lean into our diverse understanding of God and the scriptures.

Growth

One other tenant of small group instruction is in the growth. Some call this tenant multiplication. I see it as both/and. We see growth in the persons in the small group and we see multiplication in the impact of the group as a whole. This impact may even, but not always, lead to multiplication of more small groups. In his book The Band Meeting, Kevin Watson writes, “They will testify to the ways their faith has grown as they have banded together to confess sin and seek healing and wholeness.”[3] Kevin was speaking to the growth that the people experienced when in these deeply relational small groups that he calls bands. When we are together in these small groups we should experience growth in a deep way.


[1] Geoffery Gyer. Teaching Church and Group Reproduction: An Adult-Education Approach for Small Groups. (2019) retrieved from: https://place.asburyseminary.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2425&context=ecommonsatsdissertations. 19.

[2] Dean Blevins and Mark Maddox. Discovering Discipleship: Dynamics of Christian Education. (Beacon Hill Press, Kansas City, MO, 2010). 239.

[3] Kevin Watson and Scott Kisker. The Band Meeting: Rediscovering Relational Discipleship in Transformational Community. (Seedbed Publishing, Franklin, TN, 2017). 142.

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