In my book Leadership Explosion, I mentioned that small group ministry doesnâ€™t provide the cure all for all the problems in the local church. It does, however, satisfy several key needs. In the following three paragraphs (taken direction from Leadership Explosion) I talk about three key problem solvers:
First, it [small group ministry] provides a significant role for lay people. As Carl George says, “I´m convinced that lay people take ministry to a limited size group so seriously that they prefer a role in cell leadership to most any other office or honorific title in a churchâ€ Small group ministry prepares a person to pastor, evangelize, administrate, care for others, and use his or her gifts and talents. Lay people feel like theyâ€™re doing something significant.
Second, small group ministry is the perfect training ground for future leaders in the church. Small groups have correctly been called leader breeders. People learn to labor. They are equipped for ministry. They are encouraged to exercise their gifts. They develop vision. Ultimately, they become leaders. I started my ministry in a small group. I learned to lead, teach, exhort, administer and above all, pastor a small group of people. Doubtful potential leaders learn to spread their wings and fly in a small group atmosphere by taking baby steps in leading a group dynamic, worship, prayer, and eventually the small group lesson. Would-be leaders learn through an incremental process of doing and learning.
Third, small group ministry makes the pastorâ€™s job easier. Because small group leaders assume a pastoral role, they do the work of the ministry and truly minister to the needs of the congregation as well as reach out to non-Christians. We find parallels here with the apostles and the needs of the early church. When the Grecian Jews complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food, the early church gathered all the disciples together and said, â€œIt would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the wordâ€ (Acts 6:1-4).