So what will help?
We need to recognise that this idea of supporting small group leaders has not been part of our thinking in some churches so patterns and ideas around this will be new to some. With this in mind it is important that we understand not only how this might work but why it is important.
Keeping the groups linked to the life of the larger church
Bill Beckham, in writing about small groups in church life, describes the church as having two wings, one being what he calls the community wing, which contains the small groups, and the other he calls the corporate wing, which is the Sunday meeting and all the larger activities of the church. This gives a picture of a bird that can fly with two wings in motion together. The two wings need to be joined together to work effectively and enable flight. There is a danger that these two wings get separated and can even appear in competition with each other. With this in mind we need to look at how they can remain connected and indeed what connects them?
One of the connections from the small groups to the larger body of the church is that the Bible section of the small group is based on the Sunday teaching from the main church. This keeps things on track and encourages the groups to be working with the same issues that arise from the content of Sundays and in doing so provides cohesion across the life of the church as a whole. The idea here is not that the sermon is re preached in each group but that the content is explored and most importantly applied to our lives. The steps to make this happen are outlined in our booklet Help! I am leading part of my small group.