The Bible provides numerous examples of small groups praying, fellowshiping, encouraging one another, and laboring together for Christ. These groups provided God’s people the opportunity to share responsibilities and fully utilize their varied gifts. That is, small groups can provide the opportunity for the Lord to use each of us more fully.
Read Exodus 18:21-25. What providential counsel did Moses’ father-in-law Jethro provide that made a significant difference for Moses? Why was this plan so vitally important?
Every individual in the camp of Israel became part of a group of ten, led by a godly official. These small groups were a place for problem solving, but they were also much more. They were places of fellowship where problems could be prevented and spiritual life nurtured. They were places of vision where God’s plans for Israel could be shared. In groups like this, people could form tight and caring relationships that could help all involved work through whatever the issues were that they were facing. No question — then as well as now, people struggled with things that others could help them with. Small groups provide opportunities for warm, caring fellowship, spiritual growth, and problem solving.
It is fascinating that small group specialists tell us that the ideal size for group interaction is between six and twelve people. This is the exact size that both Moses and Jesus employed in forming their groups.
Read Luke 6.12-13; Matthew 10:1; and Mark 3:13-15. What was Jesus’ twofold purpose in calling the disciples and selecting them to be part of His small group ministry?
Jesus’ purpose in calling the disciples was to prepare them both spiritually and practically for their mission to the world. In fellowship with Him, they would grow in grace. In the context of their small group meetings, they would learn how to minister more effectively. Day by day, as they observed Jesus ministering to the needs of people around Him, they would learn by observation how to use their gifts. The purpose of Jesus’ small groups was both spiritual nurture and outreach.
|Think about a time when you were involved with a small group of people, whatever the circumstances, who cared about each other and who were working for a common goal. What did you learn from that which could help you understand the value of small groups in the context of our faith?|