It is time for your small group to go fishing!
Hebrews 2:1 reminds us to pay attention to what we have heard (our mission), so that we will not drift away. Unfortunately, it is the natural condition of the human heart to drift. What happens to us when we drift is that we replace our primary mission with other things that temporarily are more appealing or easier to accomplish. Our primary mission becomes secondary. If not corrected, our primary mission becomes forgotten.
The first New Testament small group originally began around one foundational purpose. In Matthew 4, Jesus is calling His first disciples and forming His small group. What reason does He give His small group for forming?
And He said unto them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19)
Jesus formed His group around evangelism. He never stopped reminding His disciples that the prime directive of His group was this: wherever you are and wherever you go – evangelize! His last words to His group was for them to be witnesses of Him in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the rest of the earth.
Mission is essential.
Three things are obvious from Matthew 4:19.
First, Jesus had to evangelize His own group. None of the disciples were saved when Jesus called them. Jesus did not branch a new group from the Adult 1 Department. He did not enlist some church members that were salivating over the prospect of forming a new group at First Baptist Church in Jerusalem. Jesus initiated His small group from the harvest fields.
Second, He told the members of His small group what their primary mission was…. fish for men, evangelize.
Third… that little word “make”. Jesus chose His words carefully. The word “make” carries with it intentionality. Chapters 8, 9, and 10 of Luke shows how Jesus intentionally made His disciples fish for men. First He showed them, then He sent them. In other words, He showed them how to fish (Luke 8) and then He sent them fishing (Luke 9 & 10)!
Most of us are familiar with the five functions of the church.
Guess which one of the five receives the least amount of attention in the average Sunday School class or small group?
People will do what gets talked about in their group. Groups that consistently talk about and look for evangelistic opportunities are groups that see their friends and neighbors accept Christ as Savior. Groups that do not go fishing never catch any fish.
As the leader of your group, it is imperative that you consistently hold the primary mission of evangelism up to your members every time your group meets. The primary mission (the Great Commission) is that important. Show your group members how to fish, and then send them fishing!
Here are some ideas to help you keep your group from drifting away from their purpose:
- Pray for lost friends
- Have a group member share their testimony every time the group meets
- Teach them a Gospel presentation
- Take someone with you when you make evangelistic visits
- Memorize verses about evangelism (click here for a list of 12 evangelistic verses)