I know that all pastors are supposed to believe in small groups. I’m pretty sure there’s something in some hidden set of bylaws somewhere that say you can’t be part of the pastor club if you don’t believe in small groups. Yes, I know there are many valid scriptural references and examples of small groups throughout the Bible and I am very aware that the overall implication of Biblical application is “within the context of community”, of course it is very impacting to me that “Jesus was in a small group”. So, for the record I do believe in small groups!
However, I don’t believe in small groups just because of the above stated items. Nor do I believe in small groups because they’re cool, hip, trendy, or because some church somewhere used them and produced some amazing results of growth. I certainly don’t believe in small groups as a church activity, or just another church program.
My main reason for believing in small groups is personal. Personally, small groups have helped me to grow as a man through relationships with other men of God. They’ve provided me with opportunities for instruction, encouragement, accountability, and fun. Through small groups I’ve been honored to watch how other men handle their marriages, tackle parenting issues, deal with finances, serve in the church and in their community. Small group settings have given me the opportunity to walk with others through some very difficult and trying times of their lives. I have stood with people in some of the most difficult situations imaginable and had those very same people stand with me in some of the toughest times of my life. Bonds of brotherhood have been built in small groups and have been the catalyst for building some of the most special lifelong relationships for my family and I. Being in small groups individually, as a couple, and as a family have helped me to be a better man, husband, father and I believe to be healthier as a pastor, leader, and friend.
Has there been some tough times in small groups? Sure! Small groups have been the place of deep disappointments, breaches of confidentiality, lack of loyalty and a few times when the groups were just a waste of time. But those things pale in comparison to all of the great things I have gained through my experiences. My first ministry assignment was to lead a small group Bible study at our local juvenile correction center. I was challenged on my knowledge of the Bible, on my ability to teach, as a leader and on my level of commitment. After only a couple of months I was ready to quit, staying committed gave me much needed OJT (On the Job Training) that I am still thankful for today. To all of those who I have had the honor of being in a small group with I say, “Thank you”! God has used you and our small group setting to help me grow and develop. Since my growth and development is not done, I’m committed to continue being a part of small groups and I can think of no better place to do that than at New Covenant Church! Don’t miss the opportunity to invest in yourself and others. There is a place for you in NCC small groups!