The Small Group Habit
By Pastor Jack Borchert
On Wednesday, February 21, SBC provided an information night for those interested in being part of a small group. This is a summary of the information and experience we shared together.
Welcome and an invitation to enjoy the hospitality provided: We sought to model that small group hospitality can be modest and light. The goal is not to outdo what others are doing.
Why do we have small groups? The primary reason is to support individuals in life; to study the Bible when that is the focus; to help people have a group with whom they can “do life with”. We encourage small groups as it gives individuals an opportunity to act like disciples along with others. A disciple of Jesus is someone who learns from him to live like him and ultimately lives following the example of Jesus.
John 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
Luke 10:37 “The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.””
We learn with others what it means to be a disciple and we are then able to live like disciples.
What is their purpose? Did you know that we have over 1100 people listed in our database who attend our Church. Their attendance may be once a year, once a month, or regularly. We would estimate that, of that 1100 persons, probably around 550 - 600 persons would be considered somewhat regular attenders (attending at least twice a month) and, of that number, probably 30% would attend each week (400 - 500). Some weeks are lower; some weeks higher. Even with the lower number, how can anyone really ever get to know others simply by gathering weekly for 1.5 hours. As the church grows, the issue of knowing others becomes a more pressing issue; hence we encourage folks to participate with others in smaller groupings so we actually get to know others.
What are they not? The sole purpose of small groups is not meant to be Bible school classes or seminary classes. There are some small groups that may decide to engage in study that is more involved but that is not for everyone. Our overall goal is to encourage people to do life together and learn to be like Jesus. Study can be a part of that, but putting it into practice can be even more important. Our point is……. how many more intake sessions (like eating meals) can you be involved in before you get up and exercise (to be like Jesus)?
What is the format of small groups? Small groups take many forms. Presently, we have groups who meet in restaurants, at the church, in prayer groups, in Women’s groups, in men’s groups, for a season, for specific topics (finance, parenting, youth, etc.), for tasks (music groups, service groups). Sometimes groups meet to engage and support a particular group of people. We have had interest expressed in a group for widows, working moms, working dads, all variety of groups.
Some groups are only two or three persons; some groups have up to 20 persons, so there is no prescribed size or “shape”. The common theme is being like Jesus and taking time to be with others.
When do groups meet? Anytime they want. Some groups meet Sunday nights, Monday night, Tuesday mornings – really… anytime!
One group for working moms has expressed interest in meeting and thought about Sunday morning. This could be an ideal time when the Church already has classes for kids and moms can come and meet together and support each other without the added expense of childcare. A family could attend first or second service (first or second) and be a part of a small group. If they wanted to attend a second service, they could, or, they could watch it online when they get home. Remember “church” doesn’t just happen when you are sitting in a pew with others!
Resources: There are multiple resources available for those who wish to be engaged with a small group, including resources in the library, both book studies and DVD’s. Studies are available on the internet through RightNow Media (also known as the Netflix of Bible Study videos). SBC subscribes to RightNow Media so that we can make it available at no cost to our church family. There are also individuals who have resources in their own libraries.
What now? We encourage folks to respond to some of the studies that are available.
- Rick and Nan Cogbill are prepared to host and lead a study at their home on Monday evening at 7 PM.
- Jen Waterman is prepared to host a gathering, possibly on Sunday mornings during one of the services for “Weary Moms”.
- Another Sunday morning study will begin soon using one of Andy Stanley’s video series.
Other needs or ideas? We hope you will contact us and we can help promote a study and encourage others to participate. If you would like more information or help joining a small group, please contact the church office or fill out this online Small Group Interest form.