Don’t Force Multiplication

by Joel Comiskey

Winter 2019

I have to admit that I’ve forced groups to multiply too quickly in the past before the community in the group was established.

I remember one small group, in which we enjoyed sweet fellowship and community. The main couple who attended the group had a lot of non-Christian friends, booming secular business in the city, and loved the group.

Yet, after a certain amount of time, I felt we needed to multiply because that’s what small groups were supposed to do. The problem was that it wasn’t natural. The community was not deep enough, and no one was ready to facilitate the new group. This couple correctly realized that I was forcing the group to multiply before it was ready—something that I only later realized. They eventually left the group and the church.

People are not afraid to try new things when they feel loved and cared for. Christ’s own disciples were able to make mistakes, learn in a wholesome atmosphere, and try again. They learned to love one another as they were loved by the Master.

Jesus molds and shapes those in small groups today. Care and community among the members is the perfect atmosphere for people to attempt new things, use their gifts, and grow in their confidence to become part of a new group.

Yes, new births will be painful, and discomfort is part of the growing experience. But I also think we need to make sure that the pain isn’t self-inflicted through misdirected motivation and forced outcomes. The emphasis should always be on lovingly making disciples who make disciples and never forget that it’s a process that takes time.