For me the name you use to define your group ministry is much less significant that what happens inside and outside the walls of your groups. Small groups, Sunday School, Life Groups, Core Groups, or whatever name you use is not dead!
In fact, it is the backbone structure of growth for your church. When churches sustain numerical growth you will almost always find a healthy group structure. When individuals experience personal spiritual growth you will almost find them leading or attending a healthy group.
I believe there are several important values that create the best group environment for discipleship to happen in a church.
8 Values for Building Great Groups
- Leaders must stay spiritually nourished.
- John 15, Jesus uses the metaphor of a vine and branches to instruct His followers to “abide.”
- Are you staying rooted in your relationship with Jesus Christ, realizing that apart from Him you can do nothing?
- Core Groups are about living in relationship and community with one another.
- By encouraging and facilitating relationships outside of regular group meetings, you demonstrate community within the body is a priority.
- How are you and your group members connecting outside of group time?
~Pastor Bill Clem
- Core Group members should be involved in discussion, serving, and sharing in ministry and missions.
- Share the leadership and involvement of the group (leading the Bible study, preparing snacks, reaching out to members and potential members).
- How are you involving your groups members in supporting the group, church, and Great Commission?
- Core Groups exists beyond themselves and are part of a much bigger story.
- Serving people outside your group is a great way to use the influence of the group while strengthening the relationships within the group.
- Is service a consistent part of your Core Group experience?
- Discipleship is about change. The Kingdom of God is about change. Core Groups need to stay focused on their primary purpose.
- If we truly value the life change God brings about in people, it is important that we take the time to celebrate it in our groups.
- How do you and your group members celebrate the growth you see in each other?
- Core Groups are the first level of care for people within our church. We provide care both big and small.
- Often people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
- Do you make it a priority for your group to support and care for each other?
- Core Groups should be producing leaders and servants out of their discipleship.
- Passing on knowledge, skill, and opportunities, Small Group leaders are preparing future leaders while sharpening your own leadership.
- How are you intentionally investing in a potential leader? Who is that person?
~Steve Gladen, Small Groups with a Purpose
Double Your Group
- Core Groups value relationships by starting new groups.
- A Core Group should start a new group every 15 to 24 months or as growth occurs.
- How often does your group talk about and more importantly pray about starting a new group?
~ Josh Hunt
Read more about doubling your group on Josh Hunt’s Blog. 5 Steps to Doubling Your Group
These values come from leading, reading, and learning small groups for the past 20 years. Probably all of these come from other people, but I believe they are important.