What Is Wrong With Small Groups?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by TCGreek, Dec 3, 2007.

  1. TCGreek

    TCGreek
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2006
    Messages:
    7,373
    Likes Received:
    0
    1. Where I pastor, I spoke about small groups recently, and I was met with some opposition, from some influential members, because where they went to church prior to joining the church where I am, they had some bad experiences with small-grouping.

    2. But, frankly speaking, I think small grouping or whatever you want to call it, is the way to rediscover the biblical concept of fellowship, koinonia. The early church was nothing but house-churches, where genuine koinonia took place.

    So what is wrong with small-grouping our members?
     
    #1 TCGreek, Dec 3, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 4, 2007
  2. webdog

    webdog
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Messages:
    24,691
    Likes Received:
    0
    Nothing! It's the biblical model from Acts 2 on how a church ought to be. Small Groups are the backbone of our church, and I have grown tremendously as a result.

    I have no idea why any Bible believing person would have a problem with small groups. Maybe they are stuck on the Sunday School format, where you are taught at instead of interacting with.

    Another thing might be accountability to others.
     
    #2 webdog, Dec 4, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 4, 2007
  3. TCGreek

    TCGreek
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2006
    Messages:
    7,373
    Likes Received:
    0
    1. I heard several people talk about the positive growth in small groups. :thumbs:

    2. Personally, I wish we could do away with the Sunday School format. Yea, we need to go back to the Acts 2 and beyond model. But traditionalists would fight this!
     
    #3 TCGreek, Dec 4, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 4, 2007
  4. youngmom4

    youngmom4
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    Messages:
    229
    Likes Received:
    0
    I like small groups. You get to know people a lot better than you can sitting in church with 200 or more people and listening to the pastor preach.
     
  5. Allan

    Allan
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2006
    Messages:
    6,888
    Likes Received:
    0
    They can be both a blessing and a curse.

    I personally know some pastors who have used them (both Bapstist and Assembly of God) and their churches were devestated and one nearly split. But I know some who praise it.

    I personally like them, but they do take a great deal of maintence on the part of the Pastor.

    Here are some things I have learned to keep up on:

    1. As a Pastor KNOW very well (their beleifs) the person who will be doing the teaching and KNOW what material they are going through and any changes from it.
    ...1-A. Have either weekly or bi-weekly meeting to go over how the groups are going and what are some the questions being brought up by the group.
    ...1-B. Advise your Small Group Leaders that you will do randomly call different members of their groups for 2 reason. 1) to inquire the pro's and con's of small groups and how to strengthen them and 2) to inquire about teaching and the material. The #2 helps you assess what your leaders can do to bring both a practical application of scripture to their group as well as a theological understanding of it. But it also lets you monitor any concerns that might arise if they begin teaching something outside your churches view.

    2. Every quarter (or whenever) mix up the groups. It is VERY easy for them to become a clique rather than a fellowship in small groups and it WILL cross over into the church. Therefore mixing the groups up allows them to become friends with others in the church they have not had the opportunity to get to know personally before.

    3. Once a month or every other month do something that all the groups together participate in. BUT - allow them to bring testimony about what they are LEARNING and what God is doing as well.

    4. Allow your leaders to also be mentors. I mean this in the sense that as they watch and pray for their group members, they take note of those who seem to have a spiritual gift for expounding or explaining the word and other seem to pay attention to.
    ...4-A. As the Paster you and the Group leader take them aside AT THE END of the small groups quarter (or whatever) but BEFORE the reforming of the next one. Ask them to prayfully consider growing in the capsity as leadership support (that is my name for it) where they become more involved in partner praying with the Leader.
    ...4-B. If they feel the Lord is leading them in that directin, prayerfully pair them up with one of the small group leaders (or a different one at each interval - that is best) Having both the leader and the supporter getting together at least once a week to discuss the next lesson and have a mini-lesson themselves as the Leader grooms their talents and abilities to potentially become your next Small group leader.

    5. and MOST important - Don't allow small groups to BECOME Church.

    The above are the main things that the Pastors I know who have struggled with it, encountered. In the main it was a combining of the above which contributed to a great deal of problems in their churches. Hope it helps.

    Like I said, it takes a lot to maintain but the benifits are exciting :thumbs:
     
    #5 Allan, Dec 4, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 4, 2007
  6. D28guy

    D28guy
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2002
    Messages:
    2,713
    Likes Received:
    0
    Nothing in the world wrong with small groups. They are a wonderful thing.

    Dont know why they would be against it, unless they are afflicted with the dreaded WNDITWB disease.



    (the "we've never done it that way before!" disease. :laugh:)

    God bless,

    Mike
     
  7. ktn4eg

    ktn4eg
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2004
    Messages:
    3,517
    Likes Received:
    1
    D28guy: Thanks for reminding us of "The Seven Last Words of the Church."

    We call them cell groups at our church, and I love them.
     
  8. LeBuick

    LeBuick
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2006
    Messages:
    11,537
    Likes Received:
    0
    Could it be they don't play well with others? It is hard to be "in control" and still remain anonymous in a small group.
     
  9. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    They can be dangerous places where false teaching is hard to control, where schism develop when like-minded disgruntled people get in the same group, etc. It can be that people are simply uncomfortable with change. It might be that it is just not their preference, and that is fine as well. They are not a biblical mandate, but they are a way in which the biblical mandate can be carried out.

    If I were you and were going to do it (as we have considered), I would start with optional small groups. Don't make them mandatory for everyone all at once. Continue the "traditional way" for those who desire and allow those who desire to start cell groups.

    This is not something worth splitting the church over.
     
  10. Allan

    Allan
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2006
    Messages:
    6,888
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well said.
     
  11. A2J

    A2J
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2007
    Messages:
    59
    Likes Received:
    0
    Not a thing.

    There have been times where I've felt like I've learned more in a small group setting than at the Sunday service.
     
    #11 A2J, Dec 4, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 4, 2007
  12. blackbird

    blackbird
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2002
    Messages:
    11,898
    Likes Received:
    2
    I fail to see the difference between the so called "Small Group" setting and the "Sunday School" setting----isn't the Sunday School setting "Small Group"??? See what I'm saying??
     
  13. North Carolina Tentmaker

    North Carolina Tentmaker
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Messages:
    2,355
    Likes Received:
    0
    Blackbird,

    It has to do with the mindset and expectations. I may have the same number of people in my Sunday School class as is in the small group. But instead of delivering a lecture or reading from a quarterly we have actually discussion and interaction among the members.

    Small groups can be wonderful if done correctly. Others have already mentioned the dangers of cliques and false teaching. If we are learning from one another we may not always have the wisest instructors. Everything needs to stay focused on scripture.

    There are several reasons I can think of that some people would oppose small groups. IMHO small groups crush the anonymity that I found prevalent in large churches (by large I mean anything over 100). In a large church you can come in, sit down, go through the service and then get out quick. Even if you shake hands and say “how are ya” you don’t really have to interact with other people. Even the Sunday School Teachers or Pastor can get up before the group and give their lesson/sermon and leave without really interacting. Small groups destroy this. All of a sudden someone is asking you what you think of a passage of scripture and how you think it should apply to our lives. And they are listening to your answer. We risk actually getting to know one another. We might actually have a level of personal accountability when someone follows up the discussion the next week. We risk actually starting to care for and love one another, bearing one another’s burdens, lifting each other up in prayer. That of course opens the door for us to be hurt. Many people will be very uncomfortable in that type of church because it forces them to actually do things in response to scripture. Others may be uncomfortable with the level of intimacy with other believers.
     
  14. Allan

    Allan
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2006
    Messages:
    6,888
    Likes Received:
    0
    That is the problem right there!

    People have not been properly mentored in how to teach. Mostly those who are growing in the Lord are asked to fill a class (without any serious prayer or acknowledgment of that spiritual gift), then given a quarterly, and they read from it. I have found VERY FEW who actaully study out their quarterlies so as to be 'prepared' for discussion. Most people are under the impression that we are to sit and listen to the all wise wisdom of the speaker and not to interupt if at all possible.

    There is a time for giving alot of information that others may see the full concept, but I believe (and practice) that people grasp so much better and are both convinced and convicted much more often when they speak in the study AS MUCH AS the teacher.

    The only draw back is - They will either continue to come and grow (eager to be there) or they don't come back to class/group.
     
    #14 Allan, Dec 4, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 4, 2007
  15. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Messages:
    9,031
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm not oppose to small groups vs. Sunday School. But I've never been in a Sunday School class or Bible study group that didn't have plenty of discussion. The teacher is responsible for encouraging interaction.
     
  16. youngmom4

    youngmom4
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    Messages:
    229
    Likes Received:
    0
    I know what you're saying, but it doesn't have to be that way. In my SS class, we have a lot of discussion over the lesson. In fact, the church didn't get the new quarterlies this month and opted to go with a different small group study instead. :thumbs:
     
  17. skypair

    skypair
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2006
    Messages:
    4,657
    Likes Received:
    0
    I like...

    ... Allan's comments. Small group members rarely prepare for meeting either 1) because they don't have a regular quiet time or 2) because that quiet time is already alotted to something that interests them more outside the group context.

    But the plus is that the small group allows the "body" of believers to sense and respond like a real body. Each persons' strengths (gifts) and weaknesses are drawn out and that can accelerate the growth of all the members.

    I guess one thing that needs to be curbed is talking negatively about anyone who is not present. If the small group decides that they have discovered something the pastor hasn't, they need to schedule time with him and at least one other pastor to solicit their input.

    skypair
     
  18. SaggyWoman

    SaggyWoman
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2000
    Messages:
    17,933
    Likes Received:
    8
    Sunday school are small groups is Sunday school is small groups.
     
  19. dan e.

    dan e.
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2006
    Messages:
    1,468
    Likes Received:
    0
    Typically a Sunday school, in the traditional sense, has a "master teacher" mentality where the "master teacher" is passing on information to the "pupils". Small groups are gaining momentum because the "master teacher" mentality does not necessarily produce spiritual growth....especially with newer generations. People don't want to be "taught" in that sense. Small groups work because it tends to have a mentality that says "we're in this together, let's learn about each others story, and where we fit in the larger story God has designed". Obviously, the group looks to the Bible to discover this together. There is a leader, but the best leaders in small groups don't necessarily talk the most, and certainly don't lecture the group. It is a "soul care" environment; not a seminary classroom.

    That's my observations.
     
  20. webdog

    webdog
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Messages:
    24,691
    Likes Received:
    0
    Good observation. That's exactly what I was getting at. I've done both the SS and SG (SBC since I was 7), and the SG format is more laid back (in homes as opposed to a classroom), promotes fellowship (dinner of dessert after of before), and allows for the questions you may not normally ask to ber asked. It's night and day better than SS, IMO.

    Allan gave some good suggestions, but I would add that it might be overkill to meet with the leaders every week (or every other week). Monthly has worked in our Church. Also, the calls to members would show a lack of trust to the SG leader, IMO. Remember, the leaders should be chosen based on their gift mix. Our groups last a year, and I think quarterly mixing them up would do more harm than good. We are trying to garner an intimate setting where we can grow individually, as well as a group, and being together for only a few weeks does not allow for some to come out of their shells. Each group needs to be treated individually, as they are made up of individuals. One member almost left our church because they were "forced" to move to a group they did not want to go. Reason being, they had two younger children, and their group had younger children why their children bonded to. They wanted the fellowship for them as well.

    SG's are really trial and error, and tweaking where tweaking is needed, but all in all, an excellent way to disciple.
     
    #20 webdog, Dec 4, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 4, 2007

Share This Page

Loading...