Circles are better than rows. Rows speak of the church experience on Sundays; while circles speak of the fellowship and community we experience outside of our Sunday church gatherings. In rows people hear the preaching during a Sunday sermon; however, it is in circles where authentic and intimate conversations take place.
Jesus is always our standard and perfect example; and during His earthly ministry He had many experiences with rows. He preached to great crowds of people‚ performing many miracles‚ and revealing the most incredible revelations about God’s love and His kingdom. Yet, he developed and nurtured circles in His life with His disciples. He also established circles with other smaller groups of people who traveled beside Him and supported His ministry. Consequently, in the end‚ it was not the rows that remained, but it was the circles that left a lasting legacy.
I want to encourage you‚ whether you are a pastor or a member of a church‚ to pursue and develop both the rows and circles in your life. Since getting into rows has been the norm in our modern church, I want to encourage you to step into a circle. We have had many amazing testimonies come from people who have involved themselves in circles. These circles have enabled people to overcome addictions, get healed from diseases, form lasting friendships; and have a walk with God in a manner they never dreamt possible.
I have always led a small group since the beginning of my youth ministry. I am very passionate about small groups because it is very biblical; since Jesus demonstrated this pattern by having‚ the well-known 12 disciples‚ His own small group. Small groups are such a convenient way where people can go from accumulating the information of the Bible on Sunday; to applying the information of the Bible on Monday. Likewise, a small-group setting is much more economical then a church building. Small groups are also unlimited in the sense that many people can be reached. Moreover, it provides a safe place that is conducive for personal accountability and individual growth.
Here is my “Why”
Hence, I would like to share my “why” behind leading a small group. I know you may say, “well you are a pastor, it is your duty to lead a small group.” However, the subsequent reasons come from my position as a believer, and not from my position as a pastor.
The reasons are as follows:
1. Leading a small group expresses your love for Jesus. When Jesus asked Peter if he loved him Peter answered, “yes.” However, Jesus did not reply by saying, “great, now read the Bible, pray, fast, and give your tithe.” He actually stated, ‚”feed my sheep.” The way Jesus wants you to demonstrate your love for Him is by taking care of others (John 21:1-14). Leading a small group is a great place and opportunity where you can fulfill Jesus’ desire for you to love Him.
2. Leading a small group helps to fulfill the great commission. The first and great commandment says, “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind,” which is fulfilled by taking care of others (Matthew 22:37). Conversely, the great commission says, go into all the world and make disciples. The great commission is not just to go and make decisions; but it is to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:16-20).
Christ does not anoint us to preserve our faith; but He anoints us so we can multiply by investing our life into others. When you decide to lead a small group, you are setting yourself up to fulfill the great commission. Hence, you must ensure that your focus for a small group‚ is not to just attract visitors‚ is to raise disciples who will eventually lead their own small groups one day in the near future.
3. Leading a small group is a way to spiritual maturity. Spiritual maturity is not based on your age, but on your stage (1 John 2:12-13). These three stages are the following: (1) a child, which is someone who needs care, (2) a youth, which is someone who cares for himself, and (3) a father, which is someone who cares for someone else.
The story of the prodigal son illustrates very well these three stages. The story tells us how the younger son came back to his father’s house as a child who need it care. Conversely, the older son was the youth who cared for himself; nevertheless, he was careless and lacked compassion for others. Consequently, the father was the one who cared for both the older and younger son. Your spiritual life will eventually plateau and hit a ceiling if you do not grow into mentoring others. Small groups enable God to mature you as you mentor and invest into others.
4. Leading a small group unlocks miracles in your life. At times people allow their problems to become excuses to why they cannot serve others. These types of Christians believe they need to focus on getting better before serving others. There is truth in this, nonetheless we must understand something about serving. For example, Abraham was asked to pray for healing when his own wife was barren. Hence, “the father of all those who have faith,” that is “father Abraham” did not minister out of his faith but out of obedience. Consequently, in time God blessed him with his own kids.
Joseph translated dreams for others while his own dreams were on hold. God made his dreams come true, but he served others first. Job prayed for his friends before God restored doubled of everything to him. Our Savior Jesus was healing a man on the way to the Cross; and even at the Cross He extended salvation to someone else. Do not use your pain as an excuse to halt your purpose.
If you earnestly seek God’s will and purpose for your life, He will add to your life all the things unbelievers in the world seek after. Do not ignore your pain; nevertheless, do not permit it to be something that stops you from serving others. Leading a home group can be a great blessing to your life. When you are discipling others, God is pleased that you have prioritized His will over yours. Subsequently, He in faithful to help you with all of life’s problems you may face.
5. Leading a small group gives you purpose. Living a life with purpose and intention gives you a fulfillment that nothing in this world can replicate. Many Christians feel empty even though they read the Bible and come to church. If you want to be fulfilled, do not just enjoy God’s presence; but you must live for God’s purpose and will for your life. Every man of God‚ that was ever used mightily‚ was given a God-inspired assignment that they achieved. Even Elijah‚ in his darkest hour‚ became so depressed that he wanted to lay down and die. Nonetheless, God comforted and encouraged Elijah by giving him an assignment. His assignment was to raise another prophet to take his place.
Do not die with such anointing in your bones. Pass it on to someone else. Moses passed it on, David passed it on, Elijah passed it on, Jesus passed it on, and Paul passed it on. What will be your lasting legacy?
Take a risk and enroll to start a small group at your church.
Written by Vladimir Savchuk
Edited by Erik Vargas
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