The O-Group Strategy

Don't ask people to come to your small group—take your small group to the people.

There is a powerful small group exercise called "Life Map" that helps people recall significant people or moments in their spiritual journey. "Life Map" involves drawing your spiritual journey on a piece of paper. Sometimes people draw graphs with high points and low points during significant life events. Sometimes individuals draw different pictures that represent specific eras of their life. Once the drawings are completed, group members share their pictures with the whole group.

Whenever I have done this activity with a group, the common theme of most spiritual journeys is the impact that key relationships had on people at defining moments in their life. These defining moments usually did not happen within the walls of a church building or even at a church event. This is why I believe the most strategic evangelistic strategy does not involve bringing people to the church (church buildings, special events or even small groups), but taking the church to the people through relational outreach.

Even a brief review of the workings of the New Testament church reveals that the gospel was most life-changing when encountered in everyday life. For instance, the apostle Paul went to where the lost people were. He did not water down the truth but he made the message relevant to people in their context. He described the process as one of "reaching out to God and finding Him…because He is not far from each one of us." (Acts 17:24-28).

In our church, we wrestled with how to apply this strategy in our small group ministry. When casting the vision for small group outreach, we constantly encountered a couple of tensions:

One tension involved those who had the gift of evangelism and those who did not. Small group members who did not have ...

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