Fall is a great time to start a small group fellowship. School is back in session, vacations are over, and families are settling into a routine. If you have ever felt led to start a small group, now is the time.
Why start a small group?
I can think of several reasons, but the first and foremost would be in fulfillment of the Great Commission to make disciples.
“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 28:19-20, NIV84).
Matthew 28:16 tells us that Jesus was speaking these words to His disciples. So we are called to be disciples and to make disciples. As followers of Christ, we should seek to share the Gospel with others in a way that enables them to grow in their understanding of how God’s Word applies to their daily lives.
Small groups are an excellent way to carry out this command. We can invite people to church and to Sunday school, but small groups are more intimate, provide opportunities for people to ask questions, and allow for ministry to take place on a more personal level.
Jesus had those He discipled one-on-one, as well as the eleven apostles, and many disciples. I recommend finding one person with whom you can spend one-on-one time as well. Just think, if each of us made it our goal to find one lost person to lead to Christ by the end of this year, what a difference we could make in our communities!
I challenge you to find that one person and invite her to your small group, then suggest meeting together once a week–just the two of you.
Okay, so here are my five best tips for starting a small group.
First, pray. Pray specifically for God to speak to you and show you if this is something He is calling you to do. Pray that He would lead you in every aspect of starting your small group. If you don’t know how to hear from God, read this post on how to discern the voice of God.
Second, ask God to show you whom to invite. Decide on how you will invite them–in person, by email, paper invitation, Facebook group, etc. I recommend keeping your group small (8-12 people).
Third, choose a format for your study. Do you want to have refreshments or a meal? Adding a short time to share food together usually opens your group up and allows time to get to know each other. How long do you plan for your meeting to last? Let people know what to expect.
Fourth, choose a time and location. Work around your church’s schedule. Talk with your pastor if you wish to meet at church. I recommend meeting in a home, which encourages your ladies to relax and share with each other. Discipleship is about doing real life together. Time spent together in your home will allow you to be vulnerable with the ladies you bring together.
Last, choose a Bible study carefully. Do you want a video-driven study, one with a small amount of homework, or a study that goes deep into the Word? This consideration will depend upon the ladies you invite. Unchurched ladies or new Christians may be more encouraged by lessons that are shorter; while others may desire to go deeper in God’s Word.
If you are looking for a Bible study for your small group, I encourage you to consider Let’s Run! Uncovering Faith and Finding Freedom. This study works well for new or seasoned believers or even those who are uncommitted and still searching. The daily lessons are not too long, but I do encourage digging around in Scripture to find answers.
Let’s Run! is a 6-week study of some men and women in the Bible whom God commended for their faith. As we look at their lives, we see that they weren’t perfect; they were normal people, just like you and me. But they believed God. They ran their race with faith and perseverance, and their lives encourage us to do the same. This study will help your ladies uncover the truths of God’s Word and apply them to their own lives.
- Faith and Worship
- Faith and the Word
- Faith and God’s Faithfulness
- Faith and Ministry
- Faith and Opposition
- Faith and Victory
Each week of lessons is followed by a Weekend Devo, which sums up the week’s lesson with life application. You can also find small group ideas at the end of each week.
This is the best time of the year to start a small group, so if God has put that desire in your heart, then what are you waiting for? Start praying for the women He has put on your heart, and be ready to step out and make disciples. That’s doing kingdom work!