"I'd like to be in a small group, but we just don't have the time right now."
I have heard that phrase 7,463 times since getting involved in small group ministry, but who's counting? It used to frustrate me every time it was uttered in my presence. Sometimes I would argue with the anti-participant, using my best Biblical and sociological case for group involvement. That never worked. As a small groups minister, I have used all kinds of promotions and campaigns with only limited or short-term successes. I have tried making it easier for people to be in a group. I have used interest-based groups, for instance, also with some success, but that has not been the answer for everyone. So what gives?
As small group leaders, you and I know the value of being in Biblical community. We know that it is transformational. We understand that if you are a part of the Body of Christ (in other words, a Christian), that by nature you must be in community. We realize that as Christians we are supposed to invest our lives and our time into what is truly important, and to God nothing in the world is as important as people. He values people, so we do too. We get it. We have our priorities straight. We know all that about the significance of community, but how do we let everyone else know?
To begin with, your senior pastor must be on board and in community. It must be a priority to him for people in your church to make it their priority. When he shares illustrations of his positive experiences with and spiritual growth from being in community, it sends a clear message and casts a compelling vision for the church. If he is not on board and not in community, you will face constant frustration in your efforts. If you have a passion for being in real ...