This week I sat in a meeting talking to a Pastor and Minister of Education whose church has regularly started new groups over the past several years. They have done so in an environment of declining population in the heart of the Mississippi Delta region. Their church has experienced steady growth. I asked them to explain how they have done this and how they have help keep these groups growing.
They quickly responded. “We have not seen success with ALL the groups. It depends on the leadership team we have enlisted and their passion for the group we are trying to reach. Those with passion to reach those in need grow spiritually and numerically. Those who are just enlisted and equipped to teach a class do not always put their hearts into the work of the class.”
Those statements say a lot. When we begin new groups we must ask some key questions if we want success in meeting the needs of the group we are trying to reach.
- Who are we trying to reach?
- Why are we trying to reach that group?
- When are we trying to reach them?
- Where are we trying to reach them?
- What do we plan to do for them when we reach them?
- How will we measure success in reaching and ministering to them?
- Do we have a plan for nurturing them to multiply and reach others through another new group?
Far too often, we just enlist a teacher, give them a list of “suspects” and expect that person to do all the work. That class will often be doomed to fail because of lack of purpose and organization.
But, if those enlisted, understand their roles, the purpose of the class, and they have a passion to reach the people they are trying to reach, they are far more likely to succeed. They must add prayer, hard work, determination, patience, and persistence to their efforts. As my friend Daniel Edmonds, from Alabama states, “Start small, do it right, build it strong”. Another pastor friend was asked by a dear senior adult lady how long they were going to continue to use this strategy of starting new groups to reach more people. He quickly responded, “Until Jesus comes, that was His Commission to us.” Let’s keep up the strong work of growing new classes and small groups.
Mississippi Baptist Convention Board