This group value is about how we can get the Christian message to others.
To help understand the thinking behind this value, here is an extract from Laurence’s booklet, Small Groups – an Introduction, explaining this value.
Matthew 5:13 ‘You are the salt of the earth’
Matthew 5:14 ‘You are the light of the world’
In these two little phrases Jesus is speaking to us about our evangelism, about our mission. In Matthew 28:28 the disciples are told to go. There is probably no greater challenge that we face as Christians than the sharing of our faith and making a difference where we work and where we live.
The word evangelism is the stuff of nightmares, pictures of standing on soap boxes float before the eyes, knocking on doors, speaking when no one wants to listen. It’s terrifying and so the challenge is to understand what being missional is, what doing evangelism is in today’s culture. And how can we live out our faith and share our faith in ways that are appropriate, dynamic and doable and not terrifying!
It is my experience that this value is one of the hardest to take root in the life of a small group and in the life of church as a whole. We know we should be doing mission but we are not quite sure what this is and so the reality is we don’t do very much.
In our small group we have an opportunity to learn together, to go on a journey of discovery amongst friends, and as we do this we find that mission begins in the heart.
It starts as a question; do we care about people? John 3:16 tells us that ‘God so loved the world’, His motivation is love and that is why He sends his Son. So we can pray that God will give us big hearts and we can realise astonishing things.
For example, in a recent survey called Talking Jesus we learn that over 60% of people who come to faith are members of our family or our friends therefore in the simplest terms developing evangelism is about being a good family member. It is about having unchurched friends, being acquainted with people and connected with people who don’t go to church. As you do life in a natural way with them, living out your Christian values, telling your story where appropriate, inviting them to carol services, Easter services, suddenly developing evangelism becomes an easier thing.
We have seen churches over the last 10 years or so, stepping out into social action, through food banks, street pastors, giving money advice etc. Developing evangelism is also about being a volunteer, helping in the food bank, the mums and toddler project. Through these volunteering connections we share faith.
So the role of the small group is, if possible, to spend a few moments each week praying for the relationships we have, we pray for one another to keep on reaching out, to be involved in the projects that our church might be doing, inviting people where appropriate to church events.
My experience is that to stay missional, to keep on reaching out, takes energy and encouragement and we can receive a measure of that in our big meetings on a Sunday. However if we make this value a part of our small group it empowers us on an ongoing basis in the specific areas that are relevant to us as individuals.
Some of the key resources we offer in this area are shown below.
- The Sowing, Reaping and Keeping book helps us explore what it really means to love people and fulfil our responsibility to share what we believe. There is also a Study Guide that allows a group to dig deeper into the principles covered by the book.
- A particularly practical resource is the 40 Missional Ideas for Small Groups tin of cards. These give ideas on how each one of us can live out Christ in our daily lives.
- The Evangelism Through Cells booklet contains practical strategies on how to reach out as individuals and groups.
Please browse our shop for more resources.