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Mission and small group Bible studies

January 11, 2016

Jesus didn’t come to start a Bible study; He came to save the world. So in order for our small group Bible studies to be effective, they have to be on mission. Charles Spurgeon expressed it well: “I would sooner bring one sinner to Christ than unpack all the mysteries of the Word. Salvation is the thing we are to live for.”

So when we talk about having a sorority community group, we’re not talking about a little Bible study in a bunker sheltering from the harsh world. We’re talking about a missional group of girls who are growing in their relationship with God and proactively seeking to impact their house for Christ.

Our community groups (CGs) are intergenerational (freshmen-senior), but we hold most of our CGs in the dorms to keep freshmen as the primary mission field. When we kick off in the fall, all of our CG leaders are on board with this missional mindset. But vision leaks, and “We’re going to reach every freshman in our dorm!” becomes “Well, at least we have two freshmen coming most weeks!”

January is a great missional check point for community groups. In the first couple of weeks back on campus, we meet with each group of CG leaders, usually three to four students who lead together, meeting with one coach – either a senior or a staff.

We talk through what it means to be a group on mission. What do they think that looks like? How does it compare to the community in Acts 2:42-47? We discuss the importance of being on mission, where our group succeeds and fails in this pursuit, and what we can do to help their community group be on mission, including how to successfully pursue upperclassmen and freshman.

Together, we develop the tools needed to help their group live on mission. Some of the things we discuss are:

What is our mission statement?

A mission statement defines what an organization is, why it exists, and its reason for being. For community group, a mission statement will define what a community group is, why it is needed, the goal of the group, and what it hopes to produce in the members of the group.

There are several ways a mission statement can be created. One way would be to choose a scripture passage, like Acts 2:42-47, that could serve as your mission statement. You could choose one word to describe your group, like “active”. We will be active in our personal walks with the Lord, active in relationships with each other, active in group involvement, and active in extending invitations to others. Or you could create a one sentence statement. Cru’s mission statement is that everyone on campus will know someone who passionately follows Jesus Christ.

Once a mission statement has been created, we talk about how they can take that mission to the members of their group and make it a reality. How can they cast vision that gets the whole group involved in the mission? Maybe they can make a poster to display their mission statement at each group meeting where members can write on it each week how they are personally living out that mission. Or maybe they can pray for the mission statement each week as a group or send texts to the students during the week to remind them of the mission, keeping them accountable to it, and encouraging them with it.

Outreach parties.

We give each CG $50 to throw an outreach party. This party is not just for their group – it’s to be held in the dorm of the group or with the segment on campus that they are connected to, and it should be outward focused. Encourage freshmen to step up and take ownership of the party.

Get the entire group involved in the decision of how to use the $50. Maybe they can partner with other studies in the dorm to pool their resources in order to throw the party. Flyers are great advertisement, but you’ll get the greatest results when the CG members get out and personally invite their roommates, neighbors, and friends. And once the party is underway, guests can be invited to fill out questionnaires to gauge interest for new people for their CGs. And the party can be captured on social media sites like Instagram.

Encourage natural relationships.

As simple as it sounds, encourage the group to invite their roommates, friends, classmates, and neighbors. Community 2:8 is a great resource for this. Challenge them with a specific goal of guests each week. The burden of pursuing new people for the study shouldn’t fall just on the leaders – help the guys and girls of the group see that this is their group, too. Give them ownership of the group to invite their friends and feel like they’re the ones hosting, in a sense. People won’t just come on their own. They need an invitation. And they’ll respond better to invitations from people they have a real relationship with.

These are just a few of the ways we work to keep our ministry on mission.

What are some things you do?