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Can You Be in a Small Group and Not Know It?

I am convinced that many people are in a small group and just don’t know it. For ten years, I was a collegiate minister in Kentucky. There were about twelve other college ministers planted on various colleges and universities around the state. The years I spent with these incredible men and women unveiled small group life to me in amazing ways. While we didn’t meet weekly, we really did do life together.

We lived out each of the one another principles without ever discussing them or agreeing to live them out…

Love Each Other:

1. to fulfill God’s law (Romans 13:8)

2. to increase our love for one another (2 Thessalonians 1:3)

3. to overflow in love for one another (1 Thessalonians 3:12)

4. to cover a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8)

Connect with Each Other in Integrity:

1. to fellowship with one another (1 John 1:7)

2. to forgive one another (Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13)

3. to greet one another with healthy touch (Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Peter 5:14)

4. to wait for one another to break bread (1 Corinthians 11:33)

5. to help one another through difficult times (1 Corinthians 12:26)

Serve Each Other:

1. to use our spiritual gifts (1 Peter 4:10)

2. to love, relinquishing our freedom when necessary (Galatians 5:13)

3. to show kindness and pursue what is good for one another (1 Thessalonians 5:15)

4. to show concern for one another (1 Corinthians 12:25)

5. to carry one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2)

6. to show honor as you “wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14)

7. to work with one another (1 Corinthians 3:9; 2 Corinthians 6:1)

Teach Each Other:

1. to teach and admonish one another (Colossians 3:16)

2. to instruct and model Jesus to one another (Romans 15:14)

Encourage Each Other:

1. to encourage one another to avoid deception and live for Christ (Hebrews 3:13; Hebrews 10:25)

2. to speak the truth to one another (Ephesians 4:25)

3. to lay down our lives for one another (1 John 3:16)

4. to spur one another on to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24)

Build Up Each Other:

1. to strengthen one another in tough times (1 Thessalonians 4:18 and 5:11)

2. to share a psalm, a teaching, or a revelation (1 Corinthians 14:26)

Meet Each Other’s Spiritual Needs:

1. to confess our sins one to another (James 5:16)

2. to pray for one another (James 5:16)

Live a Life of Humility Toward Each Other:

1. to honor others above ourselves (Romans 12:10)

2. to be in agreement or of the same mind one with each other (2 Corinthians 13:11; Romans 12:16 and 15:5)

3. so as not to criticize or judge one another (Romans 14:13; James 4:11)

4. so as not to complain or speak badly of one another (James 5:9)

5. to submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21)

6. to be clothed with humility toward one another (1 Peter 5:5)

Live in Harmony with Each Other:

1. to be patient with one another (Ephesians 4:2)

2. to live in peace one with another (Mark 9:50)

3. to accept and welcome one another with hospitality (Romans 15:7; 1 Peter 4:9)

4. to glorify God together (Romans 15:6

Was this band of passionate college ministers a small group? Only if you consider a dozen or so followers of Jesus living out biblical community a small group. Or maybe, just maybe, we were something more than a small group. Maybe we were a band of sisters and brothers being the church for one another. Either way, I wish every person on the planet could experience what we experienced together.

Small group pastor…Look around you. You may have a substantial number of small groups already meeting, groups that don’t show on your flow chart but are precisely what you’re asking groups to be. And a word of advice…Be careful to bless them rather than curse them. They may have been put together by God Himself. 

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Rick has one passion… To see “a biblical small group within walking distance of every person on the planet making disciples that make disciples.” He is presently pursuing this passion as the Small Group and Discipleship Specialist at LifeWay Church Resources. Rick has authored or co-authored multiple books, studies, and leader training resources including A Different Kind of Tribe: Embracing the New Small Group Dynamic, Destination Community: Small Group Ministry Manual, The Gospel and the Truth: Living the Message of Jesus, Small Group Life Ministry Manual: A New Approach to Small Groups, Redeeming the Tears: a Journey Through Grief and Loss, Small Group Life: Kingdom, Small Group Kickoff Retreat: Experiential Training for Small Group Leaders, and Great Beginnings: Your First Small Group Study, Disciples Path: A Practical Guide to Disciple Making. Rick’s varied ministry experiences as an collegiate minister, small group pastor, teaching pastor, elder, full-time trainer and church consultant, as well as having been a successful church planter gives him a perspective of church life that is all-encompassing and multi-dimensional. Rick is a highly sought after communicator and trainer.