I'm a firm believer in small groups. Whether you call them home churches, Bible studies, small groups, life groups or the various other lingo used. What I'm about is groups of people meeting together regularly, studying God's word, sharing life, holding each other accountable, encouraging each other, admonishing each other, serving others together, praying together, eating together and so on. Maybe it's because these types of groups have had such a major influence on my spiritual growth, or maybe it's because they are Biblical, (there are various examples throughout Acts and the New Testament of people gathering in homes for meals and/ or study) but I have a huge heart for small group ministry. To be involved in it, to minister to others through it, and to be vulnerable enough that I may receive ministry through it as well. Most small groups that I've been a part of have included anywhere from 4-20 people. While this is good, powerful, and smaller and more intimate than a large church setting, it does not provide the same type of intimacy, sharing, and fruit that smaller groups offer.
Smaller groups are two to four people. They offer less lines of communication then larger groups (or small groups in this case), and therefore allow members to share more openly, have more time to talk, and less room to escape the tough accountability questions that we should all have someone who loves us enough to ask. All of these concepts are derived from the Your Next Step Lines, Triangles and Squares material developed by our friends the Dorman's. This bookmark that can be printed by clicking the link provides some good guidelines for smaller groups, as well as a good baseline for questions to ask. I think this is absolutely great material.
Small groups have been on my heart a lot lately as our home church as a whole is praying for direction and guidance for our next step, so this post was a reflection of that.
What has your experience been with small groups?