All of these are integral parts of your small group or Sunday School class. But one thing may be missing from your group’s vision – and that is starting a new group! I often find that starting a new group is usually not on the agenda of many groups. Many groups that I encounter suffer from nearsightedness, or group myopia.
Starting new groups is an essential part of an existing group. Many people fail to realize that starting a new group validates their existing group. You have accomplished your goal of making disciples, because you are sending people from your group out to start a new group. The church at Antioch did something similar in Acts 11 when they sent Paul and Barnabas (their two best teachers by the way) on a mission trip to expand the Kingdom by… you guessed it… sharing the Gospel and starting new groups, many of which later became churches.
Here are a few practical pointers that may help lead your group to start a new group:
1. Talk about it! Maybe I should also add, “Talk about new groups positively”. I can assure you that very few new groups are started until somebody becomes a catalyst and begins to talk about them.
2. Dream a little. Share how many people in your neighborhood do not know Christ and could benefit if your class started a new group. Maybe there are some group members who have become inactive that might start attending again if a new group was available.
3. Provide opportunity. You really don’t have to divide your group in half. Instead, make leaving the current group to start a new one an option for people to consider.
4. Enlist a leader. Ultimately, a new group is going to need a leader. That new leader is going to need a mentor and encouragement.
5. Keep the current group involved. Excitement will begin building as the launch date for the new group nears.
6. Throw a party. Before the new group launches, throw a party! Just like when a new child is born into a family, a new group is a cause for celebration.
7. Finally, remember that if you are the leader of the current group, you are the one person – and probably the only person – that can lead the group to start something new. Don’t let the myopia of the members of your group keep you from seeing the bigger picture of starting a new group.
Bob Mayfield is the Sunday School/small group specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. Bob also writes on his own blog at bobmayfield.com