Home > Uncategorized > Misconception – no teaching in small groups

Misconception – no teaching in small groups

I’m excited to be partnering with the NCBSC in developing training materials for churches that are considering, or already making, the move to the small group model for discipleship of their people. In my study and development time, I have tried to isolate the most common objections pastors and leaders of a local church have to making the jump to groups (in that vein, I’d greatly appreciate your feedback on objections you have yourself, or have heard frequently regarding launching small groups in a church.)

Maybe the most common one I encounter is that small groups, because they are discussion oriented, lose the element of biblical teaching which is of course a core part of growing as a disciple. One version of this said to me was “All it is is people sharing opinions and whoever shares their opinion most confidently is the one who speaks truth. Its a dangerous and unhealthy setting for discipleship.”
At the root of this objection is an assumption that teaching = monologue from teacher to student. Since small group gatherings do not include this lecture / sermon type element, the objection goes that there is no teaching in small groups. Now, I do need to talk about how discipleship is a two-way street but let me start by directly handling the objection. The reality is teaching, as it relates to making disciples, is FAR MORE than this! (so hear me now. I am affirming speaking truth into someone’s life. I just think speaking is but one slice of the teaching pie)

How did Jesus make disciples? Did he JUST gather them in a room once a week for an hour? Of course not. He shared life with them. he “taught” them by explaining the deep mysteries of God, by miraculous signs, by demonstrating what would later come to be the fruits of the Spirit (Gal 5:22), and ultimately by sacrificing himself for them.

So do we teach in small groups? OF COURSE! Sometimes that is by explaining a theological truth. Sometimes, no…always it is by putting on display a gospel-centered life among those who have never witnessed such a life before. This example has helped me: how do you teach your children? By 30 minute weekly dialogue? Or by living out how they should live, and then seizing 30 second windows we call teachable moments?

So to my friends who are hesitant to jump into small group life, i want to encourage you that it is a model where teaching can happen. And humbly I want to ask you how much true teaching is happening in the model you are in right now.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Curt
    March 8, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    I mostly agree with you, Spence. But if the leader is not equipped to teach, the weekly small group meeting very likely will be an hour of opinion sharing.

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