Small group leaders are in the most strategic position in the church to effect real, lasting life change and spiritual growth. The church's best method for caring, shepherding, loving, and growing people is through small group leaders!
We've probably all heard assertions like this before, and while we affirm the truth of these statements, we have to ask how we are supposed to make it happen. If small group leaders are truly the best spiritual formation directors in the church, then how do they do it? Let's start by asking some basic questions about spiritual growth and by looking to God's Word for the answers.
1. What is the goal?
Christlikeness: "And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." (2 Corinthians 3:18). We start with the understanding that the ultimate goal of all spiritual growth is to become like Christ. Everything we do is targeted toward helping people become more like Jesus. Each day, each week, each month, each year, parts of our lives are transformed so that we are more like Him. This means much more than just our actions; it means our attitudes, our thoughts, our character, our minds. The fruit of the Spirit quantify this goal of "Christlikeness": love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
2. What is the context?
Authentic Christian Community: "We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ." (1 John 1:3). Everything that grows has an environment in which it grows. For a microorganism, it is the culture in the bottom ...