Learning from the Past
So what can small-group ministry leaders learn from the history of the small-group movement? What have these pioneers taught us that can help make the movement stronger today? What should we pass to the next generation of group leaders?
Perhaps the best thing we can do as ministry leaders is step away from our responsibilities for a short while to examine our hearts, our strategies, and our structures. Get away for a day or a weekend and consider why you're doing small-group ministry and what constitutes a win in your context. In other words, think in terms of biblical vision, mission, and purpose. Gather a team—staff or volunteer or both—and prayerfully discuss these big-picture questions.
As you consider the purposes of your small-group ministry, compare them to what the small-group pioneers had in mind. Is your ministry carrying on their hard work? Is your ministry too focused on those already part of the church? Have you lost a sense of all that small groups can do for the kingdom? We can learn quite a bit from these small-group pioneers. In fact, they may be playing the role of prophet for us today. Ultimately, they point us to the real expert on community life: the One who created it.
—Michael C. Mack is a founder of and advisor for SmallGroups.com, author of 14 small-group books and discussion guides, and small-group ministry consultant; copyright 2014 by Christianity Today.