"Pastor," I said. "I don't believe this church will develop either in numbers or spiritual maturity unless there is a small group ministry."
He agreed with me. From his recent reading he had decided small groups were needed. "But," he continued with disarming honesty, "I don't really know how."
I believe a lot of pastors and leaders are in the same position. An abundance of evidence shows that those churches who are using small groups effectively are growing in both converts and committed believers. But it is very hard to take the first step, particularly if you yourself have never been involved in a vital support group.
I'm not talking about the Bible study where one person (often the pastor) does all the talking, a few people pray long prayers covering a number of requests, you sing a hymn and go home. I'm talking about small groups of people who become involved in one another's lives.
"I don't need to go to a church," someone said to me recently. "I get enough in my own living room watching the service on T.V." Or what about this statement? "I am blessed by the services at my church. I get everything I need from them." Both of these people have watched a service. Both may have learned more about the Bible or about God and felt spiritually uplifted. But both are missing the point.
The church is not the building. We know that. But neither is it the service on Sunday. The church is the people. Individuals. Those you instinctively like and those you have grown to dislike. Those whose theology you agree with and those you believe to be misinformed. Those who are up front leading the singing or teaching Sunday school and those who sneak out the second the service is over so no one will ask them to become involved…."