The short answer is “God does”. (1 Cor 3: 5-9), but he also co-labours with you (1 Cor 3:9). The following is a list of things that Jesus uses (through you and I) to build his church. When we say ‘build’ we mean both maturity and numerically.
- If you develop potential leaders, they will attract and disciple people (start by giving them parts of the meeting). Contact your potential leader often, pray together, divide the work of following up on and caring for people.
- Prayer at every level, both private and public- a list of your members and a list of their friends they are wanting to invite.
- Follow up on drifting sheep, new sheep, wounded sheep etc – people who miss a week should be phoned.
- Help people access/touch God. Expect miracles and talk about God working.
- Involvement = belonging. Involvement serving and ministering in their gift set. The following activities can be delegated: (lifts, tea, visitor cards, birthday cards, organising socials, ice breakers, prayer, hosting, etc)
- Events to bring friends to which present the Gospel in a way which has been promised before the event , ie no surprise religiousness (eg Braais, Days at dam etc)
- God in the house. The overarching ingredient is the presence of God.
- Suggest ways and model ways to ‘go and invite’. Think cards, events, lifts etc. The group needs to expect visitors.
- Handle visitors skilfully- don’t leave them to fend for themselves. How you welcome them when they come is important. Have music playing, learn their names and have members of the group expecting to talk to new people.
- Celebrate salvations/baptisms. When u hear stories of people getting saved or sharing the gospel- get excited! Organise your group to invite their friends to their Sunday baptisms etc
- Cyber pastoring via Facebook, twitter, email should be done systematically and by the Spirit
- A culture of genuine concern and care should be cultivated
- Energy, attitude and faith that God is with us, creative and unstoppable.
- Assisting with transport for those who need it.
- Public comments in a manner that build family, and build people up (watch out for over doing teasing etc)
What makes a small group shrink?
- Erratic or long meeting length
- Rut, boredom in methodology and content
- Unfriendly culture
- Weirdos allowed to dominate meetings.
- Sombre mood week after week
- Bullying- forcing people to do stuff they don’t want to do
- In-house lingo, cliques etc
- When you allow the meeting to discuss people, or becoming a moaning session
- Too ‘in your face’ with demands
- Wrong people allowed to dominate the meeting
- If no attention is placed to first timers or those in crises.
- If people think they are just a number, no one knows their name, issues in life etc
- Theology shallow. Or weired “encounter theology”
- Child-oriented or child-distracted meetings, which are aimed at adults, will suffer
- If you keep on changing your mind and don’t stick to your word etc people will not feel it’s safe to invite their friends. Engendering trust is a huge contributor to growth
We hope that this resource blesses you and the way you lead your small groups in your church. Feel free to print, edit and distribute this document.
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