Home Small Group Leaders Articles for Small Group Leaders Does Your Small Group Ask the BIG Questions?

Does Your Small Group Ask the BIG Questions?

As we moved through the material, the conversations were transforming.

Our new found friends—whom the curriculum labeled as “the poor”—showed me my misconceptions about this group. They would say things such as, “This book calls people ‘the poor,’ but I don’t see myself as part of ‘the poor.’ We don’t sit on our porches in the inner city talking about how poor we are.”

In other words, that label was categorically unfair. They did not want us socially well-to-do Christians labelling them and telling them how they should live.

I will never forget it when one person said, “We don’t want your money. If all you want to do is give us money, keep it. If you are interested in interacting with us by learning and talking, then you will find no resistance to that.”

In a similar vein, another person stated, “I have no desire to own a home or become middle-class.” He didn’t want the “good” life, which he viewed as a rat-race filled with stress and unnecessary pressure.

In response to the book’s instructions to middle-class people driving to a “poor” neighborhood and walking around to observe what was going on, one person said, “Do you want to get hurt? That’s just stupid.” As we unpacked the comment, it became obvious that Christ is not well represented when middle-class suburbanites walk around an economically under-resourced neighborhood so that they can “minister to it.”

Through these conversations, I realized that if we are going to effectively minister to the “poor” we needed a new imagination, one that shifted us away from thinking that we had something to give to those who are under-resourced. Instead of setting the table and inviting them to eat with us, we needed to learn to set the table together and share what each of us brings to that table.

The same is true of all kinds of people who are not a part of our churches or small groups. We have plenty of programs for ministering to outsiders. We have more than enough evangelism strategies for explaining the plan of salvation.

What we need more of is conversational patterns where we learn to ask these questions:

Who am I? Who are we? Who is God and what does that have to do with me and our life as a group? (Revealing Missional Communion.)

Where do I belong? Who is my spiritual family? What does this family look like under God’s direction? (Revealing Missional Relating.)

What can I offer this world? What can we do today to bring beauty into ugliness in this world? What is God asking me and us to do right now? (Revealing Missional Engagement.)

What is our next step on the journey? What is God calling this group to do differently? How can we be prepared for that next leg? (Revealing Missional Formation.)

As a pastor, part of my job is to facilitate environments where we can explore these questions together. I don’t have to determine all of the structures, curriculum and strategies to make groups work. If I can get people asking the questions above in their groups, they will come up with transformational answers. 

(This post is adapted from Chapter 8 of MissioRelate