First love often seems perfect in our minds—the season, the romance, the memories. For many people, their first small-group experience also seems perfect. They wonder, "How could any group be as good as this one?" That's why birthing a new small group can be a scary proposition.
For those of you who have had a child, your first birthing experience is vividly etched in your minds—crazy, scary, beautiful, awesome, or whatever mix of emotions was strongest for you. What's more, that first birthing experience colored or influenced your feelings about your second child's birth. In the same way, your first small-group "birthing" experience, good or bad, has a lot of psychological power to influence later births with fear or excitement. So birthing your group in the right way will produce a positive legacy.
Let's get a proper definition to start out. Birthing a new small group—or multiplying or reproducing, or whatever term you use for it—should be a local missionary "sending" experience. It is the disciple-making mechanism that has exponential potential for reaching an exponentially growing world.
There are several ways that such a birth can take place:
- The apprentice leader stays with the current group, while the leader births out and forms an entirely new group.
- The leader stays with the current group, while the apprentice leader births out and forms an entirely new group.
- Either the leader or the apprentice births out, and the current small group divides between them to form two new groups.
- A new group is formed outside of the current group, and several members of the current group break out to join it. (The outside group could be formed by someone who has just finished a turbo-group experience, for example.)