I recently asked the question, "What have you designed your groups to make?"
Answering my own question, I said, "Our small groups are designed to make followers of Jesus." And I must admit that my answer begs the question, "What kind of group will make disciples or followers of Jesus?"
We could also ask, "What would have to be true about a group for it to make followers of Jesus?"
Those are good questions, don't you think?
I'm sure there are more than these 5, but I don't believe you can actually make followers of Jesus without these. See what you think:
1. The presence of a person who can say, "Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ" (1 Corinthians 11:1). How far ahead must they be? It must be a step or two. Note: This person (or these people) may not need to be the leader of the group. See also, 8 Habits of a Life-Changing Small Group Leader and Groups of All Kinds and the Essential Ingredients of Life-Change.
2. A curriculum focused on learning to be like Jesus. The end in mind is being like Jesus, not knowing about Jesus. Note: This probably means that someone more knowledgeable has laid out a pathway designed to help groups wisely choose what to study. See also, Small Group Ministry Myth #3: Leaders and Members Know Best What to Study.
3. An unforced and unassuming intentionality pervades every gathering. Groups that make authentic followers seem to operate independently of agenda. Talking about scripture is a naturally occurring element, but so is every other aspect of life. When appearance trumps authenticity the group produces Pharisaism.
4. An "in but not of" culture makes inclusion natural and unforced. Any hint of exclusivity or artificiality negates the work being done. Learning to be like Jesus is a practical impossibility in isolation. See also, An "In" but Not "Of" M.O.
5. An "others first attitude" deeply saturates every aspect of the group. Becoming like Jesus by definition assumes setting aside more and more of your own personal interests. See also, A Willingness to Set Aside Your Own Interests.
Mark Howell is the founder of SmallGroupResources.net, committed to helping churches launch, build and sustain healthy small group ministries. He's also the pastor of discipleship communities at Canyon Ridge Christian Church. You can read Mark's blog at markhowelllive.com or follow him on Twitter.
For the original article, visit pastors.com.
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