Almost every church I know has some form of small group ministry. It might be in a “Sunday School” or a “Home Group” format, but most churches have versions of small groups. You might have a small group in your church, but is it the right small group?
All small groups are not created equal. I’ve seen some small groups that are merely fellowship groups. I know of some small groups that are more like support groups. Some groups are more Bible study-focused. Some small groups are more prayer focused. Small groups can be as varied as you can imagine.
If your goal is to make disciples as Jesus did, then you will want to figure out how to build disciple-making small groups. Let’s take a look at what made Jesus’ group different.
Designed to lead untrained to fully trained
The purpose of the discipleship group Jesus started was to help unschooled, ordinary men become fully trained disciples. Jesus accomplished this transformation by creating a small group that provided information, association, application, and correction. Those four components helped create a small group that developed disciples equipped to fulfill the mission of Jesus.
The goal of Jesus’ small group was not just a deep Bible study to create theologians. The goal of Jesus’ small group was not only relationships so they might have deep fellowship. One of the main goals of Jesus’ small group with His original disciples was to develop His character and conduct so they could be on mission for Him.
Designed to multiply more groups
The goal of the group Jesus started was not to stay a group forever and ever. Jesus’ group aimed to develop the disciples to the point where they could go out and start more groups. Jesus made disciples in a small group so they would go out and start more groups that made disciples. Jesus led unschooled, ordinary men to become disciples so that He could appoint them as leaders. The disciples became the leaders of the New Testament Church and most likely led some of the home groups that met in Jerusalem. At the very least, the apostles made more disciples, and they became leaders of leaders. Being in a small group with Jesus helped the apostles learn how to lead the Church to start more disciple-making groups.
Designed to change the world
Imagine this. Jesus entrusted His entire mission to a small group of people. Jesus changed the lives of a small group of twelve men, and in turn, they continued a movement that changed the world. If Jesus’ small group had missed the mission of Jesus, who knows where Christianity would be today?
The good news is that Christianity did not come to a screeching halt. In fact, it did the exact opposite. Following the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, His Church exploded. That tells me that Jesus’ small group got it. They understood that disciples are made in small groups, so more small groups needed to be started to reach the world.
Christianity was intended to be a movement of disciple-making small groups. Yes, many positive things come from meeting together in large groups, but life change happens in small groups.
Impact Discipleship Ministries specializes in helping people and churches start and develop disciple-making small groups. The curriculum linked throughout this blog was designed to help you navigate various aspects of developing disciples and disciple-making small groups. If we can help you identify a curriculum for your group or help you in any other way, please get in touch with us for more information.