As a small-group pastor, how can you implement this at your church?
- If you are a small-group pastor, you need to make sure you’re exposed to this kind of group. Barton’s book Life Together in Christ contains small-group questions and instruction, and would make a great guide.
- Although some groups begin as social or intellectual groups, keep talking about how all groups should have transformation as their goal. Don’t make spiritual formation an optional or separate program. Instead, make it the underlying reality of all you do as a church. Even if a group initially gathers around affinity or a desire for friendship, challenge those groups to go deeper by simply making transformation a goal, and by engaging in spiritual practices together as a group.
- To get some new groups started, invite small-group leaders to be part of a turbo group to experience it first before separating to start similar groups. Again, Barton’s Life Together in Christ, or her previous book Sacred Rhythms would be excellent materials to go through together.
- As those leaders start new groups, issue an invitation to the congregation to join groups that are not based on affinity or life-stage, but as Barton says, “come together because of a shared desire for God, and a willingness to pray for one another in that desire.”
- Guide and coach existing groups to help them become transforming communities. Use Go Deeper with Spiritual Disciplines for practical tips.
Keri Wyatt Kent is the author of ten books, and co-author of several others. She writes and speaks on spiritual formation, and is a regular contributor to SmallGroups.com Learn more about her writing and speaking at www.keriwyattkent.com.