3 - Clarify the Role of Small Groups

Is your church a community with groups, of groups or one that is groups?

If you create a brilliant plan for small groups or Sunday School, but it conflicts with the broader culture of your church, you will encounter unnecessary obstacles and find frustration. An essential consideration for small-group planning is the role they will play in the church as a whole. In Part Three of this course, Bill Donahue discusses three primary ways that most churches regard the role of small groups.

There are three ways that groups fit into the life of a church.
  1. A church WITH groups — Groups are essential to discipleship, but only as a non-permanent segment.
  2. A church OF groups — Everything that you can do in the church has a group aspect or potential for group involvement.
  3. A church IS groups — If you are part of the church, you are in a group.

Describe the role of Sunday School or small groups in your church according to these categories. Which of these do you think best describes the current reality of small group life in your church, and how are they normally facilitated?
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Currently, how effective is the presence and role of small groups in your church? What contribution do you think they are making toward individual discipleship?
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After listening to Bill's explanation, which of the roles do you believe is the best fit for your church in this season, and what improvement do you foresee for discipleship through effective small group life?
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None of these roles are necessarily right or wrong, but one is probably the right fit for your church. Think about how your plan will fit into the larger scheme of the function of your local church body, and use that as you complete the next step of practical application.

My Life-Changing Small Group Exercise 3
In which Small Group Role will your proposed action point be most effective? Explain the way that your action point will work under the role that you choose as the best fit.