- As men & women created in the image of God, the need for community is in our DNA (Gen. 1:26-27; Gen. 2:18-23)
- Jesus desired us to be one (John 17:20-23)
- God made us a Body (1 Corinthians 12:14-27)
- Small Groups is a model of Christian Community that seems the most viable for BCC – only so many "close" relationships one can have and healthily maintain.
- This is the starting relational unit, (beyond the family) where ministry to one another starts:
- where we spur one another on to love & good deeds in Christ (Heb. 10:24-25)
- where we share our joys and pains – where we build trust to do so (Rom. 12:14; Gal. 6:2)
- where we start to exercise the gifts the Holy Spirit gave us (1 Cor.12:7)
- where we can practically "love" one another ...and bear witness to Him as a result (John 13:35; 1 John 3:16-18)
- where we can grow in grace (Rom. 12:9-13)
- Note Well: these characteristics are not exclusive to the small group unit but small groups is the primary place where ministry ought to begin
- Our Desire is that every one who calls Berean their church home and family will be consistently involved in a small group of some sort here at BCC.
Four Session Trial Period: People are weary of committing to a group and being stuck. We are giving people a four meeting trial period to try a particular small group. If they feel it is not a fit, then they may leave to seek another group with no hard feelings. If they commit, we ask that they be committed to the group for at least that school year. They are free to seek another group the following school/ministry year.
Sermon Driven at the Outset: To maintain a sense of unity within the greater Berean body we are asking small groups to initially center their Biblical discussion around the sermon passage preached at that week's Sunday worship service. Study questions will be provided by the pastor for discussion from which the leader may pick and for leading discussion. We are asking the group to use this sermon driven material for eight sessions, after which the group is free to pursue a different Biblical topic. We also find this is a good structure for the new small group leaders and those new to small group in general. The leader is not under the pressure to offer up curriculum suggestions and the level of study and preparation is minimal. All those attending need to do is attend the worship service or listen to the sermon online and they are prepared to discuss. Leaders need to have done so also and then peruse through the pastor's study questions to see which ones would be most helpful for the group.
While numerical growth is not the goal, growth is our desire. The model we are setting forth is not one of rapid cell growth where the group grows to certain size and divides at that point to continue on in perpetual group mitosis. There is a sense of healthy exclusivity within these groups because love and trust is being built within these groups. A constant inflow and outflow of people into this group is often detrimental to fostering the love, trust and commitment we hope to grow in these groups. However, as these groups mature in their commitment to Christ and to each other, we envision that God may raise up a couple in this healthy well established group (in 3 years or so) to take the good things they have learned and experienced in the group and go out, recruit, and launch their own group.
Small Groups are to be the arena of primary care at BCC. This is similar to the earlier statement that Small Groups is the starting relational unit for ministry to begin. Aside from the family unit, the small group is where one starts when bringing a particular need to the body. If the need is beyond the resources of the particular small group, then it should be brought to the greater church body, preferably through the leadership of the church.