Josh Irmler: Seven Small Group Ideas
Someone once said that Small Groups are the church
organized to fulfill the purposes of the church. Here are
several ministries that can be delegated to small groups to
help your church fulfill its purposes more efficiently and
Small Group Leaders can fulfill many aspects of ministry. They can celebrate life with the people in their group. They can visit them in the hospital. They can pray for them. As leaders, they are also the ones who graciously keep the individuals in their group spiritually accountable when needed.
We believe when churches follow the Biblical model laid out in Exodus 18 and Acts 6, churches can meet the needs of more people. This is one reason why it is recommended for formal care to be done through the Small Group Bible Study Ministry. Just as Jesus sacrificially served others, we, as the church, are called to serve one another. Serving each other and our community gives us an opportunity to demonstrate the love of Jesus in a tangible way.
Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
The majority of church activities can happen through the Small Group Bible Study Ministry. Activities are a big part of what makes groups successful. Doing activities through Small Groups allow the activities to be life-stage appropriate; it also helps people build relationships with others who have yet to be connected with the group, as well as help to maintain lasting friendships as the Church grows larger. Groups should be encouraged to host activities together with other small groups in the church so that people can get to know different people throughout the church who are not a part of their regular group. Activities are a great way to build lasting friendships.
1 Timothy 6:17 The Lord has given us all things richly to enjoy
Counseling can also begin in Small Group Bible Studies. If a counseling need ever arises, you can encourage people in groups to start by going to their leaders first. Most of the time, simply doing a One- on-One Next Step Bible Study with that person will help meet that need.
Proverbs 15:22 Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.
Small Group Leaders can help with the counseling ministry by doing a Bible Study, offering counseling, or getting a person connected with a member of our Pastoral Staff or certified, professional counselor.
Small Groups should not just be inward-focused. Groups should look beyond the people in their own group and share the compassion of Christ with the community. Hosting outreach events and community service projects through groups helps us fulfill the mission of the Church in ways each group feels passionate about. Several times a year, groups can be involved in some kind of community service. Whether it means getting involved with our local pregnancy center, helping out the homeless in the community, or volunteering at the local Rescue Mission, the Small Group Bible Studies of our church are making a difference in the city of Fresno by showing and sharing the love of Jesus.
I Peter 3:8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
CONNECTION AND RELATIONSHIPS
Small Group Bible Studies are the place to build lasting relationships and get connected with people on a deeper level. People often come to a church and love how friendly it is, but they wind up leaving because they don’t have any friends. Committing to a Small Group will ensure that people make friendships that last.
Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.
An individual’s primary point of contact in the church should be their Connection Group Bible Study Leader. In Exodus 18:13-23 we see that Moses is the only person the entire nation of Israel could go to with any type of counseling need or problem. The people would line up from sun up to sun down, and Moses would help them throughout the entire day. One day Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, saw this and said that it was not good! He told Moses he was going to wear himself and the people out because he was doing an impossible task. He then instructed Moses to choose leaders over groups of people to handle the issues that would arise. There was a ranking among these leaders, so if one leader felt like they needed help, they had a person they could take the issue to who could help resolve it. Ultimately, if the situation called for it, it would be brought before Moses. Doing this enabled more people to be helped and kept Moses from being burnt out.
Exodus 18:21 Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens:
Because the Connection Group Leaders are the ones with that personal connection, whenever people have a need, it is encouraged that they take that need to their Connection Group Bible Study Leader First. We encourage every leader to explain this to their group on a regular basis, so their group can be healthy and effective.
Each week in a Small Group Bible Study, people will be given vital church-wide announcements. These announcements help the church stay unified as a church
family so that they can all be aware of what is going on. If people want to be in the know, it’s crucial that they be able to get that information through group announcements or
their leader. Let’s make it our prayer to be the type of churches that are actively engaged in gospel-centered relationships resembling the early church. Belonging to a healthy Small Group Bible Study is vital to being connected to what God is doing through the local church.
Josh Irmler - Fresno Church