Open Groups – Part 2: Kingdom Mindset
Last week I posted the first part of this five-part article series on open groups, which came from a conversation I had with Rick Howerton, former LifeWay small groups guru now beginning his work with NavPress. If you haven’t read it, you can find Open Groups – Part 1 here.
While Part 1 set the foundation, parts 2 through 5 are really the “how to” pieces of this series. My conversation with Rick produced several practical suggestions for creating or maintaining an open small group atmosphere. Here is number 1:
“You must have a Kingdom mindset – the Kingdom is more important than the intimacy of the group.”
Rick used the example of the “Twelve”; the small group of disciples that ‘did life’ with Jesus throughout his ministry on earth. Think about this: If there was ever a group in all of history that had the ‘right’ to be a closed group, it was the Twelve. Only they had been with Jesus. Only they had endured the things they did. Only they had walked in his footsteps.
What if the Twelve had not been open to others? What impact would that have had on those around them? What impact would that have had on you and me?
As I mentioned in Part 1, the Twelve remained open because their focus was on being and make disciples. They realized that the cause of the Kingdom was greater than the closeness of their little ‘band of brothers’. They committed themselves to Christ’s call to make disciples, both individually and as a group. They actively invited people into their community and into the Kingdom. The result? Their group grew by 3000 in one day! Talk about disrupting group dynamics!
So, how can you create a Kingdom mindset within your group? How can you help your group see that the cause of Christ far exceeds the boundaries of your current group? A couple of suggestions:
- Bring Kingdom values into your study and discussion time. Do so by focusing on Scripture, not on growing your group. Choose a curriculum that brings these values to the surface and challenges your group to explore them.
- Cast vision. When there is buy-in surrounding Kingdom values, deliver a call to move. “Because of these values, we must…” Be sure and engage the group in developing the strategies to increase ownership and commitment.
Part 3 will be out later this week. Until then, reflect on the following:
- How can I build a Kingdom mindset within our group?
- What are the barriers to a Kingdom mindset within our group? How can we move beyond them?
- What topics or Scriptures can we study to move us toward a Kingdom mindset?