Is there any place in your life that 12-15 people want to hear what is going on. Where laughter is spontaneous and comments are sincere?
I was listening to a message from John Piper this morning. He off-handedly opened his sermon with 7 Reasons Why Preaching is Not Enough. It was a list he had given to his small group leaders earlier that week. As I listened, I found myself slowing down and looking for something with which to write. I am so proud of our small group leaders. And I will bang the small group drum as long as I am able. Nothing else is as effective at getting the Gospel into us. I love preaching. It’s a ton of work to prepare the messages. It is the foundation of our corporate spirituality. But preaching falls way short of my transformational hopes if you are not in a small group. I hope everyone who pops in to restoration wrestles during the week with 12-15 friends who are trying to live it out.
7 reasons for why preaching is not enough. Reason why small group leaders are essential for the life of our church.
- The impulse to avoid painful growth by disappearing safely into a crowd in corporate worship is very strong.
- The tendency toward passivity in listening to a sermon is part of our human weakness.
- Listeners in a big group can more easily evade redemptive crises. So if something causes you to get tears in your eyes on a Sunday morning, it is pretty easy to wipe them away and get out of there. If it happens in a small group, someone’s probably going to ask– what’s up? How can we help.
- Listeners in a large group tend to neglect efforts of personal application. We all need someone to press in and say, ‘what are you going to do about that conviction’? How will you move beyond mere religious sentiment to real life change.
- Opportunities for questions leads to growth in mission. A sermon is not a dialogue. I am trying to answer questions I think you are asking, but I am guessing and anticipating. In a small group, you can ask your personally nuanced questions.
- Accountability for followthrough on good resolves is missing. If someone knows what you intend to do in response to a truth, then you will be more likely to do it.
- Prayer support for a specific need goes wanting… We have opportunities for prayer after the service, but we can’t pray for everyone. However, we can literally pray for every person in our church, every week, if they are in a small group. That’s good care.
I have 20 fellow-shepherds/pastors in our small group leaders. I lean heavily on them to lead our church. They pray hard and they work hard. Tell them thanks! Buy ’em coffee. Small Groups are critical to what we do and everyone should be in one. I’ll say it till they drag me out of here.