On the one hand, the “sermon-based” aspect of these groups guarantees that the Bible remains close at hand. It really doesn’t matter if some sermons are home runs and some are duds. The simple process of handling the Scriptures on a regular basis and looking into them to see what they say sets the stage for future need-to-know or need-to-grow moments.
In fact, the seemingly arbitrary nature of the topics covered in weekend sermons drives home the point that the Bible speaks to an incredible array of subjects. This apparent randomness sends a message that God has an answer somewhere in his Word, no matter what situation we face.
On the other hand, the “small group” aspect of a sermon-based group guarantees that we’ll be close enough to other Christians to benefit from their knowledge and support.
The Bible is a big and complex book. Even Bible scholars occasionally need the help of other Christians and scholars to grasp all that it says and implies.
While it’s true that a Lone Ranger can learn a lot through self-study, Lone Rangers (and even Brains on a Stick who know the Bible inside out) aren’t exempt from need-to-know and need-to-grow moments. Yet when they are faced with one, their isolation guarantees that the only thing they’ll know is what they already know.
As for wise counsel, a warm hug, or a swift kick in the rear, those are rather hard to self-administer. If we don’t already have those kinds of relationships in place, it’s usually too late to pull them together once a need-to-know or need-to-grow crisis hits with full force.
Osborne, L. W. (2008). Sticky church. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
My core ministry is writing Bible Study lessons. If I can serve you in this way, I’d love to help. Cost is negotiable. Think in terms of what you pay your Pastor for half a day. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 575.650.4564