For several years now, I have been sharing about Simon Sinek’s video and book, “Start with Why” with anyone who would listen. Simon suggests that people buy into the “why” better than the “what.” I would agree! He uses what he calls the Golden Circles, with the “What” being the outer circle, the “How” being the next circle and the “Why” being the inner circle.
I have discovered that most churches focus on the “what” and “how” of small groups rather than the “why”, which is the mission. Here is my “why” for small group Bible study:
Interior Motivation: Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:3740 NIV)
Exterior Motivation: Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
With the “why” suddenly the “what” changes and includes all followers of Christ should be in a small group Bible study to love God with all your mind.
We should minister to each other. It is more than fellowship, and requires us to be vulnerable.
Outreach, evangelism and discipleship must be at the forefront of what we do!
The “how” changes as well! When you consider the Great Commandment and Great Commission, we realize that small group Bible studies can happen any day of the week and any place! Every person who begins a small group should see themselves as missionaries and reach others for small groups. Here are some ideas to change your focus to why:
Nametags: David Francis and Rick Howerton, in Countdown: Launching & Leading Transformational Groups on page 38 share an example of mission by suggesting every member of a small group wear nametags. If it is about expecting new people in your small group and seeing yourselves as missionaries, name tags become an essential part of helping newcomers feel welcome.
Connector: Instead of greeter to welcome newcomers, see yourself as connector. Your ministry is to know guests in such a way to connect them to two other people in the small group who have similar interests or vocations. There is a much greater chance to see them return if they have a connection to others in the group.
Investor: Discipleship is about investing in the lives of others inside and outside the small group. Investing in the spiritual, emotional and physical wellbeing of newcomers is investing in the Kingdom of God.
Start with why and discover the mission behind small groups. Small groups matter!
Dr. Tony Brooks is the Field Strategist for Southside Virginia and Sunday School/Discipleship Specialist for the Baptist General Association of Virginia. For more resources visit their website at: http://bgav.org/ or Tony’s blog: www.tonystopic.wordpress.com