There is power in new! The reality is that new groups connect more people than existing groups. Because everyone in the group is new, a new group makes it easier for newcomers to connect than existing groups. New groups generate fresh excitement and more opportunities for connection and growth in your church. Acceptance in an existing group is often hard as individuals are already well connected with one another and it is hard to fit in the group. There are open groups and closed groups in most churches regardless of what we call them. An open group is one where new people easily fit in and can begin to develop a connection and do life together. A closed group has been around for some time and there is connection, but it is focused on those who are already part of the group and new prospects find it hard to fit into the group. Rick Howerton, small groups specialist remarks: “most groups become close groups within two years from their conception.” He further challenges us when he declares, “they can become missionally stagnant.”
Will You Be a Catalyst?
New groups do not launch themselves. It takes a catalyst to get them up and running. In every group there are leaders, people personally gifted by Jesus Christ to serve in this capacity. Paul teaches in Ephesians 4:11–13 that the health of the church depends on the development and training of believers. Simply put, group leaders who are trained are more confident and better positioned to pour into the lives of others. Leaders reproduce who they are, thus equipped leaders reproduce the commitment to community, discipleship, and mission into the groups they lead. Just Imagine how the culture in your church would change if it were filled with trained leaders.
Because groups matter, we must commit to launching new groups. Would you join with other SBC churches around the world to launch 100,000 new groups, whether they meet in homes, at the church, on Sundays, or throughout the week? Research shows that while 95% of churches have groups of some kind, those churches that have healthy, thriving cultures of participation all do the same three things: they develop their leaders, launch new groups, and feed their people. By the power of the Holy Spirit, these three imperatives push a church forward and enable healthy and growing community. Because groups matter, we must commit to developing leaders. LifeWay Christian Resources is committed to serving churches by helping them build a more vibrant group culture. The resources and insights offered on this site are free and designed to make it simple for your church to get started. Groups matter too much to the life of a church to treat them casually or haphazardly.
If you really believe that groups make a difference in reaching and growing people, how many will you commit to start this year? Let us help. Our theme this year at our Annual Celebration is The Importance of Disciple Making and our keynote speaker is Dr. Thom Rainer the President of LifeWay! He will be preaching about the need for groups in growing healthy churches. Would you begin praying about what goal you and your church will have as we gather together for this evening of celebration? Now is the time to begin praying and thinking about the goal God would have for you and your church.
Let’s think about that fact and begin doing something about it! If you would like to have conversations related to this blog post, why not drop me a line so we can begin your journey and conversation.
You can connect with Dr. Tom Cheyney and the RENOVATE Church Revitalization Coaching Network additionally via Facebook at RENOVATE Conference. Tom is the co-author of Spin-Off Churches (B&H Publishers), a conference speaker and a frequent writer on church planting, new church health, and church revitalization. Tom’s latest book is going to press entitled Ninety Church Revitalization Lessons Learned the Hard Way: A Primer Before You Jump Into Church Renewal. Also, be looking for The Biblical Foundations for Church Revitalization by Tom Cheyney and Terry Rials later this year. If you or your church would like more information about how to be considered for the next series of RENOVATE Church Revitalization Applicants you may contact him at Tom@renovateconference.org, or firstname.lastname@example.org.