The first of our group values is all about getting everyone in the church involved.
To help understand the thinking behind this value, here is an extract from Laurence’s booklet, Small Groups – an Introduction, explaining this value.
Jesus said the following in response to a question about which is the greatest commandment:
Mark 12:29-31 ‘The most important one is this:
“Hear, oh Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength”
The second is this:
“Love your neighbour as yourself.”
There is no commandment greater than these.’
When Jesus spoke these immortal words he was addressing his disciples and he was addressing us. The implication of this passage is that these commands are for all of us. It is not just special people who love God and do the right thing, God wants us all to be involved.
Over the last 30 years the body of Christ has gone through a number of changes, paradigm shifts if you like, and one of the most powerful ones is that we have gone from a church that is all about leaders and a special few to a church that is increasingly about us all.
We have recognised that, for the body of Christ to make a difference in this country, for us to grow, leader power alone will not achieve this. It is through the participation of every member of the body of Christ that we all learn to be the people that God wants us to be and each to play their our own special part.
Now, in some ways this is such a simple and common sense idea that you would expect it to be happening everywhere. However, in many churches 80% of the work is still done by 20% of the people and overcoming centuries of influence where the body of Christ has been passive rather than active takes time.
Also, there are other internal factors that often hold us back. It would appear that many of us suffer from what we can call a negative self-image or a negative script. So when it comes to doing things in the life of our church we hear an all too familiar voice in our heads that says – not you, remember your last failure, you can’t do this – and we are held back from doing what God might want us to do.
It could equally be the influence of our education, our background, our past experience, that robs us of getting involved: our fears and anxieties.
My experience over many years is that if we embrace the value of everyone involved our small group gives us the perfect place in a safe environment for our faith to grow from passive to active. For us to begin to hear the sound of our own voice, a place where we can pray, a place where we can contribute, this can be truly life changing.
I have recently seen a couple join a small group who came from a background where they were not expected to participate. They had not prayed out loud, they had not shared their thoughts, they perhaps had not seen how their lives could influence others and yet through the small group they have become involved and it is a delight to see their participation and growth.
Some of the key resources we offer in this area are shown below.
- Small group members may be asked to help with a part of the group meetings. This can be a daunting prospect. Our booklet Help! I’m Leading Part of my Small Group gives advice and guidance that should make the task less daunting and more enjoyable.
Please browse our shop for more resources.