Why It's Time To Activate Small Groups
Things are not going back to the way they were. Let’s be honest, certainly not back to the way some would like.
The latest Barna data shows, that even with the threat of another shutdown, 54% of church buildings have either partially or fully re-opened. The data also shows that boomers and young couples with children are less likely to return.
With long term closing, and some having to close again, along with the decline in both attendance as well as giving, it has simply become too much for some, leaders, leaving many without spiritual leadership or guidance.
The Coronavirus crisis has accelerated change. Change that for many is difficult. But if you’re going to lead in the future you have to be able to embrace it.
3 key questions ministry leaders should ask themselves to last and stay relevant during this crisis.
- What did I start doing during this crisis that
I should keep doing?
- What did I stop doing that I won't go back to?
- What does this new reality make possible?
Change brings about unintended consequences. Consequences like the shutdown of church buildings and having to preach to empty pews. Then there are consequences that are a benefit for both leaders and those they lead like the benefits of online ministry.
Crisis births opportunity
Phillip Stutts, the president and CEO of Win Big Media has done marketing surveys of what consumer sentiment is post-COVID, that can also be applied to ministry.
One of the things they have learned is that there has been an intense focus on local. People are less likely to travel. They’re more focused at home, more likely to engage with local vendors. This includes how they engage and participate as it relates to their faith.
Small groups are the engines of ministry
Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25
Small groups are the engines of ministry. They tend to be more connected and with close relationships. Their gatherings are more intentional and with a purpose. Notice the early Christians when they meet from house to house.
Without a relational connection, the body of Christ doesn’t function well. Spiritual growth and discipleship are handicapped.
In the early weeks of the Coronavirus shutdown, some leaders shifted focus from their facilities to online and to people’s homes, enlisting those with the gift of teaching to help establish and oversee small groups. This biblical move has helped people realize and assume responsibility for their own spiritual growth, evangelism, the discipleship, and leadership of their own families, friends, and neighbors.
Those with this ministry gift, (many who are ministers at their local place of worship) should be the go-to persons for spiritual and biblical leadership for their family, friends, and neighbors. They should use the shutdown as an opportunity to not only share the gospel with these groups but to also fulfill their calling.
For decades, the focus has been on getting people to come to a building to grow, rather than equipping them where they are.
The goal of ministry is not to open or reopen a building. A building is simply a western method of ministry. The mission and goal are to reach people. You don’t need a building to reach people.
TIME FOR A NEW STRATEGY...TIME TO RETHINK MINISTRY