Church leaders are always interested in how to make disciples that bring Kingdom impact. Sometimes the simplest solutions are right before us, but because we deal with them every day we sometimes miss the incredible impact an existing strategy already provides. What we often need is a better understanding of the strategy followed by better engagement.
About 10 days ago I was privileged to be in a group of about a dozen education ministers from all over the nation. We were there to discuss the potential of new groups to the health of the church. During our discussion, LifeWay’s Eric Geiger made a presentation from the research they have done on the impact of small groups that will be included in the book, Transformational Groups, co-authored by Ed Stetzer and Eric Geiger.
Eric gave us a sneak peek into what some of the research revealed. Here are just a few things he shared from their research of people who frequently participate in Sunday School or small group; compared with people who only attend worship services. People who participate in small group…
- Read the Bible more
- Pray more
- Confess and repent more frequently
- Share the Gospel more
- Give more
- Serve more
In other words, a small group strategy is critical to personal spiritual transformation!
The issue now becomes one of desired impact. If the above list of traits is what you want for your church members and for people you are trying to win to Christ; then the most obvious strategy is to involve as many people as possible in ongoing small group Bible studies like Sunday School or home groups. This creates a ripple effect. For better individual impact, better groups are needed. Better groups require better leaders. Better leaders need better training. The movement has begun for the church to renew its commitment of transforming its members into the image of Jesus Christ.
Obviously, the more groups you have available for people to participate in, the greater the impact will be on your church and your community.
This research reveals exactly why we have initiated the ReConnect Sunday School strategy earlier this year in Oklahoma. Fundamentally, we know that a small group strategy helps initiate and maintain discipleship. Sunday School really is the first form of accountability (however soft that accountability may be) for most church members.
What becomes just as evident is that for a church to grow and develop more disciples, more groups are needed. Asking an already full group to accept more members is like pouring a water into an already full glass. New containers are required.
PS > I’m excited about buying the book Transformational Groups: Creating a New Scorecard for Groups. You can pre-order it at the link provided.