Research from experiences of other churches that have effective small group ministries provide the key spiritual benefits for participating in small growth ministries. These are listed below:
1 Developing Sincere Relationships – Being closely connected with others has been described as the deepest longing of one’s soul; therefore, this should be the key expectations of participants in Small Growth Groups as described herein. They meet regularly with others who genuinely care for them without condemnation. People are able to forgive and be forgiven. People are able to laugh and tell stories as well as to encourage each other when the going gets tough. People believe in each other, even when they don’t agree. They don’t go out and break the confidence of those who trusted others in the group.
2 Applying Scripture to Daily Life – Private devotions and Bible study is vital, but application of scripture is what matters most. The Growth Group helps one discover and put truth into practice by holding others accountable for what they are learning. The finest sermon ever delivered has one serious drawback! It is one-way, it’s a monologue. In the group, participants in the group can stop and discuss and pray at any point.
3 Growth in One’s Personal Prayer Life – Effective prayer is a skill that is learned. People learn to pray better by praying together! The group is like a laboratory, and it is encouraging to pray more when people hear how God’s answers prayer.
4 Intentional Spiritual Growth – The large group corporate weekend worship event is not a substitute for a Growth Group meeting, but the Growth Group is not enough by itself, either. Both enhance and enrich the other. Christians grow when they are active in a group— just sitting in an audience is not enough.
5 Sharing One’s Story – Everyone has hurts and dreams, struggles and victories, questions and answers. People need others to share their joys and sorrows. When one shares a sorrow, it’s not quite so heavy. When one shares a joy, the celebration is multiplied.
6 Provide Spiritual Encouragement – This is something people think about often, but don’t always say the affirming things that are needed. The Growth Group helps people to stay up-to-date with their desire to say words that lift spirits.
7 Provide Spiritual Accountability with Grace – A primary purpose of small group ministries is to provide accountability. Every person in the group should have one of more spiritual partners who are willing to help guide one’s personal faith journey.
8 Unlimited Ministry Opportunities – A Growth Group leader can build a ministry of any size because of the multiplication factor. God blesses faithful ministries and we multiply new leaders and groups who in turn multiply new leaders and groups.
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