On Mission in Small Group

John Shaw - Small Groups Pastor | Bethel Baptist Church | Troy, IL

A Disciple… Someone who is following Jesus, being changed by Jesus, and ON MISSION with Jesus. What an opportunity we have to know and do the Will of God. Being on mission and sharing the Gospel as an individual is essential to our walk with God. We also have a great opportunity to effectively reach people, as small groups, impacting His Kingdom.

Jesus led His small group of men to impact the communities they encountered. My mind quickly goes to the feeding of Five Thousand (Jn 6:1-15). Jesus and His band of brothers encounter this massive crowd that has been following Him. Jesus, always ready to lead and teach His disciples, asks Philip where they can get bread to feed all the people. Of course, Jesus knew what He was already going to do. The thoughts start flowing from His disciples…Philip, “a month’s wages wouldn’t cover the cost.” Andrew, “There’s a young boy with five barley loaves and two fish.” Jesus seizes the opportunity to be intentional, using His group of guys to engage the crowd in a miraculous way. Jesus, “Have them sit”, then blessing the loaves and the fish He had the men distribute them to the people.

Can you hear the conversations and questions as the meal is being distributed? People in the crowd, “Where has all this food come from?” “Jesus! It is Jesus who has done this great thing!” “How do you know Him?” “Is He the prophet we have been expecting?” The disciples, “Yes it is Jesus, have you encountered Him before?” “How far have you been following Jesus?” “Oh how He has changed my life!” “Let me tell you about Him.”

After eating until full, Jesus sends them back into the crowd to gather up the leftovers, twelve baskets full. The encounter was not over at the distribution of the meal. The conversations continue and Jesus is shared as they collected the baskets.

Relationally, Jesus had walked alongside these guys, sharing with them, showing them, guiding them, and sending them to effectively encounter those around them, as a group. Could Jesus have done this miracle alone, yes. But, He chose that moment to teach them and to use them to reach the people. His disciples, as vessels for His miracle(s) to happen.

As I think about this story, relational discipleship has really helped me to see small groups as an effective outreach opportunity. Not only within my group, but also in our community.
It has prompted me to asked myself, and my group, some question on a regular basis:

  • Am I modeling a Gospel sharing atmosphere in my small group?
  • Am I ON MISSION with Jesus?
  • Do I have a missional/outreach mindset for my small group?
  • Is my group ON MISSION with Jesus?
  • Am I looking for opportunities, for my group, to encounter our community?

It is so important to share who Jesus is with those around us, to be ON MISSION with Jesus. Just tonight, I talked with my group about an opportunity I had to share the Gospel with my Nephew to be, during a pre-marital counseling session. I presented the Gospel to my group as part of telling the story. In the months leading up to Aaron’s salvation, we had been praying for him. As a regular rhythm of our group, we pray for “people of peace”. These are people, in our lives, open to spiritual conversation, and the Gospel. Those whom we can invite into relationship and to our group. Aaron was one of my “people of peace.”

Other group opportunities have come in the form of an outdoor handrail built at the home of a women in our group. For Halloween, we were intentional to encounter folks in the driveway of one of our group members. We had a firepit, cooked hotdogs, made hot chocolate, and had conversations!

Thanksgiving? My neighbor? Christmas Season? So many opportunities. God is at work all around us! How has Relational Discipleship helped you see small group as an effective outreach opportunity?

by John Shaw – Small Groups Pastor
Bethel Baptist Church
Troy, IL