What Will Our Group Study Next?

Leading a successful small group is a lot like sailing a ship at sea. Your job as the captain is to navigate your fellowship through a variety of obstacles and hazards, staying on course to reach your destination. An effective captain knows the right questions to ask.

One of the questions often heard in small groups is, “What are we going to study next?” That question shows a lack of direction and a lack of real leadership. Rather than sailing toward a destination, many small groups are like a sailboat at sea being “tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching.” (Ephesians 4:14)

As you lead your group, you need to know the answers to at least five important questions. These questions provide you with five principles for selecting the next study for your group.

Question: Why does the group exist?

Principle: The main purpose of every group should flow out of the mission of the church.

The mission of the church where I lead is this: “To team with God in turning unchurched people into fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ.” Your church’s mission statement is probably similar in that it relates to carrying out the commission Jesus gave his church (Matthew 28:19-20).

Once you have clarified your group’s mission, be sure to write it down. Then answer the question, “What can we study next that will help us carry out that mission? What should we study that will help us make disciples or make fully devoted followers of Jesus?”

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Michael C. Mack founded SmallGroups.com in 1995 and served as a small-groups minister for more than 20 years in several churches. He is a writer, editor, trainer, and consultant in the areas of small groups, leadership, and discipleship. He is the author of more than 25 books and small group studies, including his latest, World's Greatest Small Group (pub. January, 2017). He regularly blogs on his ministry website at SmallGroupLeadership.com. His family is a small group that includes his wife Heidi, their four children, and their dog, Lainey. Mike is also an avid mountain biker.