Christ is the Leader of the Small Groups
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Jesus and Small Groups
by Cindy Nau, Communications Director
Jesus Christ is no doubt the greatest small group leader in history. He is our model. Ephesians 5:1-2 tells us, “Be imitators of God .. and live a life of love.” Consider these seven points as explained by Neal McBride in How to Lead Small Groups.
- Jesus began His earthly ministry by establishing His small group: the disciples. The Son of God certainly did not need the companionship or assistance of the disciples. Yet, from the very beginning, He elected to establish and minister within a framework of interpersonal relationships. The 12 disciples were members of Jesus’ designated inner group.
- Jesus was actively involved in both large and small group ministry contexts. Large group and small group ministries were not pitted against each other. Nor was it the case of one or the other exclusively. Jesus proclaimed His Kingdom to large crowds and met with small groups in homes and spent considerable time with His special group, the Twelve.
- Jesus’ ministry to large groups was preceded by and proceeded out of His small group context. Jesus’ small group emphasis preceded His large group involvement. It was the small group that provided the platform for Jesus’ ministry to large groups of people. Yet, He often withdrew to the familiarity and support of His select small group.
- Jesus spent the majority of His time with His small group. If it were possible to add up the amount of time Jesus spent with disciples, likely the results would show that this group consumed the majority of His time. They were together constantly; they traveled together, shared meals, experienced mutual hardship, and literally lived together. As Jesus’ crucifixion drew closer, He spent more and more time with His small group, but less and less time with the multitudes that sought Him out.
- Relationships, not organizations, were central in Jesus’ method. Jesus gave little, if any, time and attention to building an earthly organization. The Kingdom He sought to proclaim was not a material organization, but rather a heavenly realm. His message, the gospel, was of greater concern to Him than establishing and running a human institution.
- Jesus used the small group context to teach and model spiritual knowledge, attitudes and behavior. Jesus taught and modeled spiritual truth by simply drawing members of his small group close to Himself. It was not a formal or academic experience. The small group members simply participated with Christ in whatever He did. They saw and experienced the attitudes and actions He was encouraging others to adopt.
- The small group was Jesus’ method for leadership training. Jesus devoted Himself primarily to the task of developing a select group of men, the Apostles. His goal was to equip this small group of disciples to carry on the work of the gospel after He returned to the Father.