As I’ve said repeatedly, this is not mainly about buildings or locations or programs. It’s about Gospel growth, which starts with personal revival in the lives of each one of us. That’s the real desire and motivation for these plans and this sermon series. The hope is that as God stirs up in our hearts a greater passion for the Gospel, our joy will then overflow to others in love and witness.
What the elders would like to ask all of us to do is prayerfully consider your small group involvement. If you’re not in a small group, figure out how to get plugged into one. And if you’re in a small group that is becoming less small, talk in your group about how you can multiply. What we’d like to see happen for this coming Fall is to have all our small groups, and hopefully some new ones, go through a straightforward Gospel study that would be very welcoming to unbelievers, new believers, the very folks we’re praying for—our unbelieving friends and family members and co-workers and neighbors. Let’s think about this question: How could our small groups be tailored in a way that someone who knows nothing about the Bible could come in and begin learning about who Jesus Christ is and what He has done for us sinners.
That emphatically does not mean that we water down the message in any way. But it would mean that we refrain from using terms like Calvinism or Arminianism or covenant theology vs. new covenant theology vs. dispensationalism or amillennialism vs. premillennialism vs. postmillennialism, etc. There is a place for those discussions. We discuss some of those things in our adult SS class. But what we’d like to do, for the Fall, is to structure our small groups in a way that unbelievers can come and feel welcome, not feel intimidated. They can be assured that they won’t be asked to say a prayer out loud. They won’t be asked to read the Bible out loud. What everyone will be encouraged to do is simply to ask questions and to make comments if they’d like to. The hope is that over the summer we will all be praying for individuals whom we could invite to these groups. It will be a limited commitment – about 6 studies over the course of the Fall. We’ve been looking through some helpful tools that give a good outline for a study like this—going through the Gospel of Mark, reading various passages together and simply observing what the Bible says about who Jesus is and what He accomplished and what it means to be a Christian.
So as we gradually move toward multiplying churches, we want to begin by multiplying small groups. And at least for this Fall, we want to have a particular emphasis on outreach. Please pray with us that God will bless these efforts.