One of the essentials of every Sunday School or Small Group is to connect. For a missional group, this connecting principle has three parts: one is to connect people within the group to each other; next is to connect people who are not believers with their group; and finally each group’s ultimate goal is to connect everyone to God through His Son, Jesus Christ.
The first principle of a missional group is powerful because God designed us with a need to belong. He created Eve because He recognized Adam’s need for a human companion. Belonging is an essential part of the human experience. We need it, and in fact we crave it!
Our society is full of superficial relationships. Check the 800 or so “friends” I have on Facebook. No, I don’t know them all. Rarely do many of our relationships move from shallow to deep. But inside each of us is a need to be known and accepted by others. We want to belong!
This human need to belong is what makes Sunday School classes or Small Groups so effective in reaching into our neighborhoods. I am convinced that the most effective evangelistic strategy that we have is not a program or a tract. It is a small group of believers who are bringing their friends into their group for Bible study. It is here that we can put the Christian faith on display to our skeptical friends. It is in a group of believers that an unbeliever can ask questions of God’s Word and discover the truths of the Christian faith. It is in a Sunday School class where a lost person can see the faith of the believers as they work through life’s struggles.
It is essential that we model the ministry of Jesus when it comes to connecting others to the Gospel. We see Jesus connecting His first disciples to His group in John 1:35-51. First He connects with Andrew and John. Andrew finds his brother Peter and invites him to come meet Jesus. The following day, Jesus invites Philip to join His group. Philip leaves to find his friend Nathanael and invite him too.
The experiences of Peter and Nathanael are both indicative of what most of us face when we invite others into our group to experience the Gospel. Peter heard the message of Andrew and dropped his nets immediately and joined the group. He was ready.
Nathanael, however, represents a more common experience. Nathanael is a skeptic. When Philip tells him that he has met the Messiah, Nathanael essentially says something like, “Oh, sure you have”. Philip’s next three words are important for us to remember. He doesn’t get into a theological argument. He doesn’t berate Nathanael’s perspective. He just says three simple words: “Come and see”.
Come and see… The next time your friend or neighbor begins to balk at your invitation to join you for Bible study, just use those three simple words.
Come and see. Give it a try. What have you got to lose?