For a number of years at our previous church, Emily and I led a small group. By and large, this was a great experience for us. It stretched us a ton, helped us build relationships with a number of great people (many of whom we’re still friends with today) and gave us an opportunity to discover some of our gifts. Two and a half years ago, just before we transitioned to Harvest, our group came to an end, and everyone went their separate ways.
Since then, we’d been considering the right time to get back into a small group, ideally thinking that we’d come in as members and maybe lead another group down the road if the need arose. Last week, a need arose, so we stepped up to the plate. We’re currently in the planning stages, figuring out what day and time we’ll meet and when exactly we’ll start, as well as reading through the training material (!) we’ve received, but here are three things I’m really looking forward to about starting our new small group:
1. Serving others. Because I’m naturally quite an extreme introvert, small groups really push me to get out of myself and serve other people both by opening our home up to new people and by being available to listen, speak and pray as needed.
2. Oversight and accountability. One of the things I love about Harvest’s model for small groups is there’s a high degree of accountability and oversight. The groups all (usually) study the same materials that is approved by the elders and pastoral staff, which is nice because it brings a level of cohesion to the church that just doesn’t exist when everyone is doing their own thing. This model also serves to guard the gates against the spread of false teaching. When our group begins, we’ll be studying When God’s People Pray by Jim Cymbala for about six weeks. I’ve not read anything by Cymbala, so I’m looking forward to seeing what he’s all about. The group leaders are also overseen by “flock leaders,” other members of the church who work to coach, support, correct and minister to leaders. This is especially important because too often leaders (if they’re not careful) can wind up sitting off on their own instead of truly being a part of the group.
3. Finding out who is going to be in our group. It’s going to be really neat to see who winds up in our group. One of the challenges of being a fast-growing church is that it gets a bit difficult to get to know a lot of people; I’m hopeful that our group will gel well and that anyone who is brand-new to the church will be able to develop some strong relationships.
So those are three of the things that I’m looking forward to about our new small group. I’m pretty excited to see what God does through this season.
Are you in a small group? If so, what do you appreciate most about your group?