This is the fourth post in a series based on an article from Thom Rainer called, Five Obstacles Facing Small Groups.
The fourth small communities’ obstacle is a segmentation of the mission of God. The mission of small communities is not to teach the Bible only. Every expression of church owns all the mission of God. Your smaller community owns the mission of God. You have been called and empowered. The danger of segmentation is great. The smaller communities say that is not their role. Our purpose is to get through the study, they think. Instead, every small group could adopt a nation in the world or a people group. We are going to go. We are going to connect. We own the mission of God.
Here is what I like about this statement: It reminds us who the church is and what we are here for.
For instance, we believe that the church is people, not a place on a map or a set of activities on a calendar. Church is people. The temptation is for us to compartmentalize (or segment) church. We are tempted to think that Sunday School is a compartment of church. We are tempted to think that the worship service is a compartment of church, and the same with missions studies, and discipleship studies, and so on. The flaw in that thinking is that church is not a collection of programs. Church is a collection of people.
In light of this truth, that church is a collection of people not a collection of programs, we understand that compartmentalizing church is impossible and unbiblical.
Jesus shared with us that our most important desires must be to love God with everything we’ve got, love our neighbor as our selves, and seek to change the world by making disciples through missions and ministry. We have expressed this great commandment and great commission in the following phrase: Worshiping God, Strengthening Families, Changing Lives.
We shouldn’t have stand alone programs that create worship experiences. We shouldn’t have stand alone programs that strengthen the family of God. We shouldn’t have stand alone programs that seek to change lives through missions and ministry.
We should have people (complete disciples) who are committed to worship, connected to the family of God in small groups, and engaged in missions and ministry that changes lives.
The difference is that between whole disciples who are engaged in the full work of God, and good church members who participate here and there in good programs.
To Rainer’s point: the goal of each of our small group Sunday School classes is to build whole disciples who are engaged in the full work of God, not just good church members who are regular Sunday School attenders.
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