Becoming ingrown is a natural tendency in Christian small groups. Small groups are usually comprised of believers who become comfortable with each other and tend to resist adding newcomers to the mix. The following is a real story of an attempt to break out of this cycle and reach unchurched non-believers.
Keith, Becky, and I were standing in the food line at one of our church activities, discussing the small groups we attended. It quickly became obvious the three of us felt restless in our present groups. "Would you be interested in helping start a new group?" I asked. "Yes," was the almost immediate reply. This happened during the summer, before the fall congregational activities had begun. Then our small group director announced a training class for those interested in starting a Seeker Group.
Prior to the beginning of this class, Keith, Becky, my wife, and I shared a meal and discussed what we wanted to do. All of us had been praying for God's leading in this idea of a new group. We felt that it was more than a coincidence that a training class on outreach groups was being offered in our congregation. The four of us, along with fourteen others, enrolled in the eight session training class based on Gary Poole's book, Seeker Small Groups.(1) The sessions lasted from September to late November. The material focused on how to invite people and to stimulate conversation in a group of seekers.
Our target date to launch our group was early in January, but we soon realized that it would take longer to pray ourselves ready and to gather a sufficient list of prospects. During December 2006, we began amassing a list of people that each of us wanted to have in the group. We would meet for a ...