What does church mean to you? A place of worship? Yes. Somewhere to hear a thought provoking talk? Yes. Somewhere you can find a fantastic selection of biscuits and hot drinks? Yep, that too. But most importantly, we think of the Church as a community of believers who can share life together. Whole church fellowship is amazing isn’t it? But what happens when a church grows? It gets harder and harder to really grasp that community feeling. You eventually stop being able to chat with everyone you would like to catch up with. For example, In my second year at university I thought I had a pretty good idea of who everyone at the church was, but then I met a whole load of people who I had just completely missed.
That was where small groups came in. Small groups are a place I have always seen meaningful communities grow between people who are hungry to know more about Jesus. In fact, throughout my faith journey, and especially in my time as a student, I found that small groups were priceless time well spent. They were always a place where I felt most able to delve deep into scripture and be vulnerable about parts of my life I didn’t often reflect on.
Small groups are also a remarkable opportunity to invite others into relationship with God and community with others. I believe that small groups work best when they embody the three M’s; MEANINGFUL, MISSIONAL, and MULTIPLICATIONAL. In other words, a small group will succeed if it does these three things; Creates space for a good old DMC (deep meaningful conversation) about life, church and faith, allows room to invite in and time to look outwards, and If there is a direction and end point whereby the small group can multiply, much like a cell to grow new groups, new leaders and now opportunities. When a small group looks like this, it will be a place where anyone can come along, learn about Jesus and hopefully come to know him personally.
Matthew 18:20 says “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them”. God meets with us when we meet in small groups, so let's use that. INVITE people, INVEST time, INVOLVE God, INNOVATE mission, INCREASE in number. For there his kingdom has no end.