Questions to exegete the context might include:
- How has the neighborhood changed in the past decade?
- How does the neighborhood perceive the local church?
- What are the opportunities that we have as a result of what's going on in our context?
- What are the challenges that we face in this context?
After reading this, you might be wondering where the action is. Pastors are, after all, held accountable for what kinds of ministry they produce. And if your job is to get groups started or to take groups to the next level, you feel the pressure to do something to make that happen.
While you may be eager to jump in and get stuff done, I would argue that we've gone down that road for far too long. Without understanding our starting point, we set ourselves up for failure when we try to implement a plan. Do the work of understanding your context up front, or you'll have to do it later.
—Scott Boren is the author of several books including Leading Small Groups in the Way of Jesus (available February 2015); copyright 2014 by Christianity Today.
- Take an honest look at your church and answer the exegesis questions in the article. What new insights have you gained?
- Who on your team can you discuss these insights with? What other church leaders need to know these insights?
- How do those insights affect your plans for the small-group ministry?