Occasionally, one of my daughters complains about growing pains in her legs late at night. As I rub her legs and administer ibuprofen, I also try to encourage her that the pains are necessary for her body to grow. This discomfort changes her body, allowing it to grow in size and maturity. When something goes wrong with this process and growth is halted, the human body can suffer numerous disorders.
This process of growth is also true for the church.
I have spent the last six months consulting with several local churches interested in beginning a small group ministry. This has posed a new challenge for me. My previous experience had taken place in churches with an existing small group ministry. But I have enjoyed the challenge and have learned a lot more about growing pains along the way.
I have learned that introducing the concept of community into a church can be painful. But in massaging these pains, I am more convinced than ever that the pain is worth the rewards of growth. Through small groups the church can continue to grow in size and maturity as each person is given the opportunity to explore their faith, exercise their gifts and personally minister to those within the church and in the community.
I have also realized that there are ways to ease the PAINS of change during this time of growth.
Purpose: Hebrews 12:2 from 'The Message' says, "Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God."
Developing a purpose or vision for small group ministry ...