If Nancy was too afraid to stand before the congregation on Sunday to testify, a video might be a great vehicle, or she might even give permission for someone else to share her testimony. There’s a good chance that those not attending a group will reconsider their involvement when reflecting on their own busy, lonely lives.
Showing How Needs Are Met
Another need small groups can meet is the need to grow and change. Many people struggle to grow in their Christian lives. Share stories of how people have grown as a result of their time in a small group. Christ’s own disciples were molded and shaped in a small group. Rejoice in how someone discovered his or her spiritual gifts, received Jesus, grew closer to Jesus, experienced, healing, or learned how to evangelize through small-group outreach. Let others know what God is doing through small groups to help people grow, and they will be enticed to get involved.
Explaining Why Groups Are Biblical
Although heart-warming testimonies stir people to join groups, emotional reasons alone won’t keep them there. Showing up each week requires sacrifice and commitment. So remind people that God wants them to be involved in a small group—it’s biblical. When a member knows they are obeying God by being in a small group, the inner-argument turns from I should be in a group to I need to be in a group. We as believers are people of the Book. We are under the authority of God’s inerrant Word, and God’s Word has a lot to say about small groups.
Sharing biblical principles works great in the announcements, during coaching meetings, and especially between leaders and members. Just as pastors should remind the church regularly about the biblical foundation for small-group ministry, group leaders should also be bold in reminding members the small-group format is biblical, and worthy of both their time and effort to be involved.
Consider these biblical arguments for small groups:
The triune nature of God.
God created humankind in his image, which is inherently relational. Isolationism goes against God’s nature, and God wants us to be in community. Small groups give us a chance to experience the “one-anothers” of Scripture.
The church as the family of God.
The image of family is the primary metaphor for life in the New Testament church. God forged the church―his new family―in houses to reflect a close-knit, one-another relationship, where hospitality and the extended family was the priority.
Christ’s emphasis on the home.
Jesus ministered in homes at least 19 times in the New Testament. He then sent his disciples in teams to minister in houses, giving them clear instructions on how to reach people through the house strategy.
Relational evangelism through house-to-house ministry.
The gospel flowed naturally through the extended family as they met from house to house.
Leadership development in the home.
The Spirit of God, through his gifts, allowed each member to minister. Women played an essential role in early leadership, and the focus was on the team rather than one leader.
Making disciples who make disciples (Matt. 28:18–20).
I believe this is the most important biblical reason, as Jesus chose the small-group atmosphere to make disciples, and to help them overcome conflict. Jesus said, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13:35). The early church fulfilled Christ’s small-group strategy as they ministered from house to house.