It’s critical to the life and health of any small group that every member knows and embraces the vision of the group. A biblically based vision is what helps to excite and inspire each member to want to engage together in group life with one mind, heart and purpose.
We believe that the Small Groups Church Plan illustrates these biblical principles precisely – and they are of course emphasised throughout our Small Groups Development training manual.
The Small Groups Church Plan approach is not new!
It’s how God grew His church in New Testament times; and it’s how God wants to grow His church around the world today.
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The training that is an integral part of implementing the Small Groups Church Plan is designed to help believers understand and practice the Great Commandment and the Great Commission (Matthew 22:36-40; 28:18-20), so that they may experience the reality of a “Great Church” (Ephesians 4:11-12, 16). Small groups are the best way to deepen community, grow godly leaders, and impact unchurched friends through the love of Christ.
increasing intimacy of each member in their relationship with God and each other
While the traditional Sunday worship service experience can increase the size of a congregation, it cannot take relational intimacy between the members to an adequate depth. This deeper intimacy with God and with each other is the first purpose of CCIs Small Groups Development and results in this maturity, producing ongoing seasons of abundant fruitful growth.
GROWING GODLY LEADERS
through submission and service
A second purpose of growing godly leaders (mobilising members) in the church is vital for the church to function as one maturing body. Following the counsel of Jethro to Moses, and Paul’s instructions on building up the Body of Christ, a critical objective of this training is to harness the church’s most valuable resource – its’ specially gifted members, for the work of building community, leadership (discipleship) and the Kingdom of God (Exodus 18:21; Ephesians 4:11-13,16).
History shows the church cannot be built solely upon the efforts of a professional clergy and just 20% of faithful volunteer members. The urgent need of today’s church is to inspire and empower the remaining 80% of the congregation to engage in active service – in the work of building up the church. Biblically functioning small groups exist for this purpose.
unchurched friends, neighbours, family and colleagues with the love of Christ
Flowing from the first two purposes is the third: impacting unchurched friends with the love of Christ. The church today is not performing as well as it can in its world-wide mission of sharing the Good News, and time is running out. We need to involve “all” of God’s specially gifted people (every believer) in this important work. We must unite together to lead the church through another reformation — not a reformation of theology, but of understanding how to best tackle the work of building the church (expanding His Kingdom without limit!).
These biblical principles are timeless and universal. You can depend on them to perform amazingly well in any denominational setting, in any country, culture and time. It has been successfully implemented and has significantly helped the growth of evangelical churches in Egypt, Nigeria, Finland, Poland, Romania, Canada, USA and Australia.
LIFE =Living In Fellowship to Evangelize!