A new groups initiative is beginning to sweep across our nation. December of 2011, a group of us gathered in the Missions Room at LifeWay Plaza to talk about impacting lostness, making disciples, building stronger families, and reaching our communities with the Gospel. Of all the things that we could do, one method rose to the top – starting a wave of new groups across America. Since that day, partnerships that include LifeWay Christian Resources, SBC state conventions, local associations, and churches have made the commitment together to emphasize the formation of new groups.
When we talk about new groups, do we mean new Sunday School classes, home groups, small groups, Bible Fellowships, or LifeGroups? Yes! We mean all of these ways of doing small groups.
Actually, we are really talking about an ongoing group that meets regularly for Bible study, prayer, ministry, mission, and is open to new people attending at any meeting. We are not talking about a Bible study that dismisses after a 6, 8, or 13 week study. In an ongoing group, the emphasis is more on the group. In a short-term group, the emphasis is usually on completing a short-term curriculum piece.
In response to this new group initiative, LifeWay has begun a new website called “Groups Matter“. There are some great resources at this site.
In my field of ministry (Oklahoma), our state convention has begun the ReConnect Sunday School initiative. We have developed a 10 week campaign this fall called the START Campaign to help local churches begin new groups and find unchurched and/or lost people to fill them. The BGCO (Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma) has also launched a new online website called “ReConnectSS” to train Sunday School and small group leaders. This week we have a new badge available called the START Badge, which focuses on the theology, philosophy, and implementation of starting new groups. For more information about the START Campaign, just visit almost any of the blog articles I have posted the last two weeks. To view them all, go here.
This week you will see a number of pastors, education ministers, small group leaders, and others posting information about new groups on Twitter and Facebook. They will all be using the hashtag #groupsmatter. It will be a great week to learn and share about new groups.