Jesus ministered to the multitudes, but He spent most of His time with 12 men, His disciples. He set the stage for small-group ministry where everyone has the opportunity to get involved and begin to use his or her spiritual gifts. And even though He called 12, He gave priority to a small group of three: Peter, James and John. The small group is the place where God’s people can receive training, instruction and encouragement as they reach out to their friends and neighbors with the Good News of Jesus Christ.
The Lord commands us to follow His example. Whatever He has taught us, we are to give away and teach to others. This can be quite effective through small-group ministry. For example, as a small-group leader, the most helpful way for you to teach a young husband how to love and honor his wife is for you to love and honor your wife. He sees your example. The best way to teach another Christian how to have a clear financial budget is for you to show that individual how you have set up a budget. If you believe the Lord has called you to teach a new Christian to pray, take time to pray with her! We teach others by modeling biblical truths with our own lives.
True Christianity in its simplistic form includes three focuses: (1) knowing Jesus intimately, (2) making disciples, and (3) reaching out in compassion to those who do not yet know Christ. Jesus told us to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves (see Matt. 22:37-39). This must be the motivation of our hearts in order to effectively fulfill the Lord’s purposes for us as believers in Jesus Christ. Small groups are an ideal setting for fulfilling these purposes of God.
Larry Kreider, What Every Small Group Leader Should Know (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2010).