In Wednesday’s blog, I mentioned the article â€œSharing Our Lives in Difficult Timesâ€ (March 2007) writen by Mike Messerli, pastor of small group ministries at at a church in Texas. You’ll remember that the senior pastor at his church fell into sin and many left the church as a result. Mike found in general that those who were connected to cell life continued through the crisis, while those without cells tended to fall away.
Pastor Mike writes, “In light of our pastoral loss, the elders of our church have put us to this task–to focus our attention on small groups and discipleship. What they realize, as do I, is that it is the small groups that bond us together and care for our body.”
He makes several suggestions for those facing similar crisis situations:
1. Small groups are the best way for people to find community in your church.
2. When lifeâ€™s problems happen, it will be the small group that will care for your people in the best possible way.
3. Times of crisis bring out the best in the community of faith. In those times of trial, you will be amazed to see those in
small groups care for each other.
4. Sharing all things in common happens most visibly in times of crisis.
5. Needs are not bad things. They offer the body of Christ an opportunity to care for each other. It is important to
share this most important part of the ministry with the small group leaders.
6. People are reluctant to share their needs with one another. You will need to teach the body that being transparent in community
is vital for the health of the church.
7. Crisis in a church and in peopleâ€™s lives does one of two things–it draws us together or it scatters us. You will find that those in small groups will draw together to care for each other. Many of those who are not in community will scatter from the flock. It is a harsh reality, but from my experience it is true.
Pastor Mike concludes the article by saying, “I am more convinced than I have ever been that small groups are the backbone of the local church.In this time in history, it is the small group where the life of the church can really be lived out. And realize that crisis is not always a bad thing in your church family. It is where you find the family of God pulling together and caring for one another.”