At its core, a small group is simply a group of people who have Christ's Holy Spirit inside of them. This group is able to spend enough time together that they have relationships with one another and spend enough time with Jesus to have a relationship with Him. The essence of small groups is not much more complex than that! The temptation is to initially try and wrap a lot of other parameters around it: recommending the maximum number of people who can be in a group, establishing what the group agenda is, writing leadership criteria, determining the optimal frequency of small group gatherings, building a leader support/coaching structure, etc. These criteria are very useful to helping a small group ministry grow and sustain spiritual health, but until you can embrace the simplicity of the early church pattern that a small group is people in relationship to God and to one another, then there will always be confusion about the nature of small groups.
A wonderful summary statement for the process of community in a small group is this: "I regularly share my life stories with you. You regularly share your life stories with me. Together we will look at the life story of Jesus Christ as it is told in God's Word, and over time, our life stories begin to look and sound a lot more like Jesus' life story."
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A seeker small group is a community of non-Christians who gather regularly with one or two Christians to explore spiritual matters. Meeting at a variety of locations from homes or offices to restaurants or churches, the Christians organize and facilitate the discussions based on the seekers' spiritual questions and issues. The group leaders can be effective with or without the gift of evangelism, with or without formal apologetics training, and with or without much small group experience. No wonder this cutting-edge outreach tool is so vital and powerful.
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