Sunday, February 28, 2010
Small Group ministry has been around the United Methodist Church for a long, long time. What is surprising is that we do not do more of it. John Wesley, the father of Methodism, got us started down that road back in the 1800's with his emphasis on the Society group as the primary gathering place for those called Methodists. Wesley was a reformer wanting only to see renewal come to the Church of England so he mandated that good Methodists go to a small accountability group during the week and to the Church of England services on Sunday. God had other plans for the people called Methodists.
Whenever we take even a casual look at our Methodist heritage, we see this strong focus on small group ministry. It is not surprising that we have moved away from it since such meetings require face-to-face communication and personal accountability. Nowadays we do too much of our communication through email and internet social groups which speaks of our preference for the impersonal over the personal.
Currently, I am involved with two small group ministries. Disciple Bible Study provides the forum for one and a recent Bruce Wilkinson book, You Were Born for This" has become the focus for the other. One group numbers about fifteen and the other about ten. After each one of these gatherings, I am so renewed by the fresh and honest faith being expressed by those who sit around the room with me. While I am perceived as the leader, it is I who is being so richly blessed in my spiritual life. It is always amazing the way God uses each of us to love, care for, and minister to others.