For years I've been following Jim Egli. His books, blogs, and brotherly love have influenced my own views toward groups, discipleship, and ministry in general.
I recently read a post Jim wrote that I believe could have a profound effect on churches, if it gets into the right hands. With Jim's permission, I'm sharing here his "4 Reasons Why Every Pastor Should Lead a Small Group." I will share only his four main points and then add my own commentary to them. To read his original post—which you should!—click on the link.
- Small groups are at the heart of church health. Jim shares the research behind this statement, but I can tell you from experience and common sense that this is true. A healthy church lives in authentic, Christ-centered, missional community, and a church that utilizes healthy groups—the focus being on the wordhealthy—will increase their health, effectiveness, growth, and multiplication.
- Pastors' involvement in small groups greatly multiplies the leadership base of the church. This is the most important of the four reasons, in my opinion. A strategic pastor will lead a purposeful small group of potential leaders who will become new group leaders, new elders, and new leaders in a variety of other vital leadership functions in the church. The strategic pastor will model the discovery, development, and deployment of new leaders so that those he disciples will then go and do the same.
- Jesus led a small group. Let's face it, Jesus was a strategic leader who led a discipleship group with the intention of developing these men into leaders who would be deployed to launch his church. Jesus was more interested in starting a movement than preaching a weekly sermon. So he gathered some ordinary, unschooled men and patiently shaped them into bold leaders who would change the world. What would happen if every pastor walked in the ways of Jesus as a group leader?
- For your spiritual health you need to be in a small group. Where are you growing as a disciple of Jesus in authentic, Christ-centered, missional community? Are you better than everyone else in your church? Do you need to be a part of genuine community less than the rest of your congregation? Where are you living out the "one another" passages of the New Testament? You really do need this kind of community for your own spiritual health. Humbly admit your need and then boldly lead. You won't regret it.