I have a confession. I like Mike. I like Mike so much that I named my first son after him—well, kind of. His name is Jordan Michael. I like Mike so much that I was selected as the biggest Michael Jordan fan in Anderson, Indiana, in 1993, the year of M.J.'s first retirement.
I like Michael Jordan for a reason: I like basketball, and he is the greatest basketball player of all time. Yet his first NBA team, the Chicago Bulls, did not win the NBA championship until his seventh season. That is when they assembled a great team around the greatest player.
Small groups are much like sports teams. One player, or one leader, does not make a winning team. It takes participation by everyone—teamwork.
That is the essence of the apostle Paul's description in 1 Corinthians 12 of the church as a body. What is more organic than the human body that God created. The human body is a beautiful example of different parts working in alignment with one another—of synergy, every part contributing in conjunction with all the others to produce a sum greater than all the individual parts put together.
Holistic Groups Utilize Everyone's Gifts
One of the smallest parts of the body is the cell—itself an incredible example of a variety of parts working together for the greater good. What goes for the church as a whole also goes for small groups, sometimes called "cells." Although one person may lead as the group's shepherd, each person has a spiritual gift to share with the rest of the group. Some may lead in hospitality, others may lead in administration or serving or encouraging or contributing to others' needs or by showing mercy.
There are basically three ways to determine people's gifts, abilities, and interests.
- The first is to use a gifts assessment tool. These can be valuable, but they are not relational, and I believe they can pigeonhole people. I believe there are better, more organic ways of discovering gifts in a small group.