My earliest experience with church small groups were primarily limited to Bible studies or an occasional prayer meeting. Any time we gather for prayer or teach the Bible, there is going to be some good fruit. Like many others, I got saved in a youth Bible study. Unfortunately, it usually takes years of training to prepare someone to teach through a book of the Bible accurately. And then it takes a lot more time to help them keep everyone’s attention.
Early on, we also had a lot of new believers in our church who were very broken. They struggled to overcome areas of sin and wounding from their past. Someone suggested we try a closed group that focused mostly on emotional healing prayer. I learned a lot in that first healing prayer small group, but we couldn’t figure out how to make this new kind of group beneficial to our whole church.
A few months later I met with Bob Fulton who was leading the small group ministry at the Yorba Linda Vineyard where John Wimber was the pastor. Bob introduced me to a simple, reproducible approach to small groups. As I remember it, it went something like this:
- Open the group up to anyone who would like to come.
- Invite the presence of God, and spend a significant time worshipping Jesus.
- Spend a little time sharing what God has been speaking to you from the Bible.
- Give others a chance to share what God has been speaking to them from the Bible.
- Pray for one another.
That was it! Within a month or so, for the first time, we had a small group that was flourishing. People were enjoying “one another” type relationships and experiencing God’s presence in worship. They were hearing God’s voice and sharing what he was doing in their lives. And people were getting healed.
BOTTOM LINE: THERE WAS LIFE IN IT!
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM THE SMALL GROUPS THAT YOU HAVE LED?
WHAT WERE SOME OF THE INGREDIENTS IN THE GROUPS THAT SEEMED TO FLOURISH?
WHAT WERE SOME OF THEIR STRENGTHS? THEIR WEAKNESSES?