3 Things I’m Looking Forward To About Our New Small Group

The ladies of our old small group (photo by my friend Roland)

For a number of years at our previous church, Emily and I led a small group. By and large, this was a great experience for us. It stretched us a ton, helped us build relationships with a number of great people (many of whom we’re still friends with today) and gave us an opportunity to discover some of our gifts. Two and a half years ago, just before we transitioned to Harvest, our group came to an end, and everyone went their separate ways.

Since then, we’d been considering the right time to get back into a small group, ideally thinking that we’d come in as members and maybe lead another group down the road if the need arose. Last week, a need arose, so we stepped up to the plate. We’re currently in the planning stages, figuring out what day and time we’ll meet and when exactly we’ll start, as well as reading through the training material (!) we’ve received, but here are three things I’m really looking forward to about starting our new small group:

1. Serving others. Because I’m naturally quite an extreme introvert, small groups really push me to get out of myself and serve other people both by opening our home up to new people and by being available to listen, speak and pray as needed.

2. Oversight and accountability. One of the things I love about Harvest’s model for small groups is there’s a high degree of accountability and oversight. The groups all (usually) study the same materials that is approved by the elders and pastoral staff, which is nice because it brings a level of cohesion to the church that just doesn’t exist when everyone is doing their own thing. This model also serves to guard the gates against the spread of false teaching. When our group begins, we’ll be studying When God’s People Pray by Jim Cymbala for about six weeks. I’ve not read anything by Cymbala, so I’m looking forward to seeing what he’s all about. The group leaders are also overseen by “flock leaders,” other members of the church who work to coach, support, correct and minister to leaders. This is especially important because too often leaders (if they’re not careful) can wind up sitting off on their own instead of truly being a part of the group.

3. Finding out who is going to be in our group. It’s going to be really neat to see who winds up in our group. One of the challenges of being a fast-growing church is that it gets a bit difficult to get to know a lot of people; I’m hopeful that our group will gel well and that anyone who is brand-new to the church will be able to develop some strong relationships.

So those are three of the things that I’m looking forward to about our new small group. I’m pretty excited to see what God does through this season.

Are you in a small group? If so, what do you appreciate most about your group?

Posted by Aaron Armstrong

Aaron is the author of several books including the Big Truths Bible Storybook, Epic Devotions, Awaiting a Savior: The Gospel, the New Creation, and the End of Poverty, and Contend: Defending the Faith in a Fallen World. His next book, published by Lexham Press, will release in Spring 2023.

Reader interactions

7 Replies to “3 Things I’m Looking Forward To About Our New Small Group”

  1. Hi there Aaron, My wife and I lead a Harvest Bible Chapel small group here in Columbus Ohio. I agree with you about the Harvest model for small groups, there really is a sense of cohesiveness and connectedness throughout the groups. We started out as a mixed group and have basically become a couples group. I love the relationships that my wife and I have developed within our group, we’ve only been meeting for under a year but these are indeed some of the closest friends in our lives! I hope that your group grows and experiences much fruit, may God richly bless you guys as you start off on your small group endeavor! 
    Ron Reffett 

  2. Jennifer Ekstrand October 13, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    My only exposure to Cymbala  was Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, which I loved when I read it in high school and again in early college. 

    One aspect I’ve enjoyed in previous small groups that looks to be the case with the small group we’ve joined this year is the chance to get to know people of different ages.

    1. It’s funny, a coworker and I were talking about groups with lots of different ages in them this afternoon—her and her husband’s group have this one older couple (they’re somewhere in their 70s) who keep thinking that none of these young kids want to hear what they’ve got to say. The rest of the group keeps telling them that the opposite is true.

      1. Jennifer Ekstrand October 14, 2011 at 8:26 am

        I love hearing from older people. Not only do they frequently have wisdom gained from their experience, but relationships with them help avoid the myopia that can occur with a group of people that are all the same age. In groups that are all “young married couples”, there is sometimes an undercurrent that life is, and should be, chasing the newest theological trend (granted it is usually a good trend, like “gospel-centeredness” or “rediscovering the church fathers”), having two kids, and buying a house, which can be hurtful to those who don’t fit the pattern of the “lifestage” (whether by choice or  because of circumstances such as not having the financial means to buy a house or dealing with infertility).

  3. Been a men’s small group leader for 10 years and it has been priceless.  When I am lukewarm in my walk, it forces me to press back into God, knowing I desperately need His wisdom and guidance to help teach and disciple these men.  Of course, the truth is that I am discipled and taught just as much by them in the process.  I have only read Cymbala’s “Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire”.  It was a very important book early in my spiritual growth and gave me a much needed new perspective on the power of prayer.  Be blessed Aaron.

  4. Hi Aaron. My best experiences are when people in small groups study the Bible. Who is Jim Cymbala?

    1. Cymbala is the pastor of The Brooklyn Tabernacle (http://www.brooklyntabernacle.org/). Pretty solid guy from everything I’ve heard about him. I’m a HUGE fan of doing Bible studies in small groups (we did a 14 month study of the gospel of Mark in my old group), but sometimes studies on biblical topics and spiritual disciplines are very helpful.

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