The Impact of Small Groups // M-Note 7.12.2019
For as long as I can remember, I have been part of a small group. The group has changed over the years, but small groups have always been a critical part of my growth as a follower of Jesus. As a teenager, I was in the youth group of my local church. It was through that youth group that I went on my first mission trip, learned how to pray out loud, and even preached my first sermon. Went I got to college, some teammates on my football team invited me to a Bible study. This small group became my “church” while at college. In that group, I had friends that I could process big questions with. Things like what I wanted to major in, what I wanted to “do with my life”, and how to follow Jesus on a college campus. Ultimately, my friends in that group helped me to develop my call and see that perhaps seminary and ministry were in my future. Even today, I am in a CoreGroup through The Gathering that I meet with weekly. I cannot express how much I value this time as a part of my life and ministry.
While all these groups have differed in all kinds of ways, there is one commonality – they all had a person (or two) that led the group. The people who led these groups weren’t experts, they weren’t pastors, and they weren’t paid to do it. They were adult parents, teammates, and folks that I went to church with. By “leading”, what they really did is made space for the group to happen, got us started each week, and kept us on track (or at least tried). Even today, people are surprised to find out that I am in a CoreGroup that I don’t lead. If it were not for these folks throughout my life that volunteered to step out and make space for these groups to happen, I am not sure I would be where I am in ministry. It may have seemed small to them at the time, but their willingness to create a small group has paid big dividends in my life, and I am grateful for it.
One of my favorite aspects of The Gathering is our small group ministry, called CoreGroups. And one of my favorite aspects of CoreGroups is that they are led or hosted each week not by paid staff or experts. They are hosted by willing people in our church who value small groups and want to offer that opportunity to others.
Because I believe so deeply in CoreGroups, this August we are going to invite everyone in our church to participate in a group for 6 weeks. This initiative is called Circle Up. For those of you that are already in a CoreGroup, this six weeks will just be the kick-off to your new season. But for those of you who are not in a group, Circle Up will be an opportunity for you to try one, test the water, and see what small groups are like. My hope is that every single person who calls The Gathering their church will participate.
But in order for this to happen, guess what we need? That’s right, hosts! We need willing people who will make space for the group to meet and get the conversation started each week. To host you do not need to be a life-long Christian, Bible expert, or seasoned small group leader. In fact, you don’t even have to be a member of the church. You just need to make space and get the conversation started. We will help you with the rest. The Gathering will give you conversation starters, questions to talk about each week, and tips and tricks for leading a conversation. Our staff will be there every step of the way to answer questions and help you in any way we can.
All we need from you is, well, you! If you are willing, we will teach you the rest. So, I hope that you will give it a try, go for it, and sign up to host one of our six-week groups. To host a group or find out more, click here or email our Director of CoreGroups Melissa Baum.
I can’t wait to see what God will do through these groups and through those who are willing to step up and host. Have a great weekend, and I will see you in worship!
P.S. This week, I will continue our new series on the book of Acts called Accidental Influencers. This series is exciting for me and important for who we want to be as a church. If you missed part 1 last week, give it a listen here. I will see you Sunday!