Making disciples and assisting parents to disciple their children is the long term task of the church’s ministry. Discipleship is more than eliciting a profession of faith and teaching Bible stories; it is helping children understand what it means to love God, and to love others with the prayer that God will make Himself known to them and bring them to Himself.
Why is it that there seems to be so little evidence of power in the preaching and teaching offered in our churches? The question makes an assumption: Power is lacking. The message might be biblical. And the Bible does say that the Word of God is powerful (Hebrews 4:12). The lesson could be presented in a compelling manner. People respond positively. So, what’s the problem? My answer is that our efforts seem to produce comparatively little change.
Two negative outcomes are possible when a small group of the same people meet together indefinitely. One is that the group gradually disintegrates. Another is that the group becomes exclusive. Other people aren’t really welcome-even if it’s said that they are.
Small group ministry is an important facet of many church programs. But small groups meeting without wrestling with the implications of the Scripture for their lives, individually and corporately, are at the very least deficient.
Small group suggests a level of understanding that grows as people come to know each other better. And that is a significant inhibitor. Many of us don’t want to be known. This makes us vulnerable. If they really know me will they still accept me? I ask myself that question. Whether you ask it or not, there’s a real possibility that it makes you cautious in relationships.
Small group ministry is a program. Like any program it should be viewed as a means to an end. If you don’t have a clear idea what you want a program to accomplish its value ought to be seriously questioned. To put it another way: don’t have a small group ministry because you think everyone else has one.
A head full of biblical data and doctrinal formulations mean little if they are not used by God to influence our behavior when confronted with obvious life-altering decisions. However, if the information isn’t there, it can’t be used. We’ve heard the message but for one reason or another it hasn’t changed us.
Be a Kingdom disciple? Isn’t it hard enough just being an “ordinary” disciple of Jesus? We can take up our Lord’s challenge to be disciples and to make disciples. We can even work at becoming Kingdom disciples because He has the power and He is with us.
Don’t do something different just to be different. But don’t be afraid to try something if you believe it will better utilize your resources to achieve your purpose.
Suffice it to say that it is in the church that we ought to learn what it means to be messengers of grace wherever we are. It is in this context that we are to make disciples. We have the great privilege of self consciously bringing the influence of God’s kingdom to a society dimly aware of his nature and purposes.