I am honored to lead the Resources Division at LifeWay and serve with a team of leaders who are passionate to serve the Church in her mission of making disciples. Each Wednesday, I share the heart behind one of the resources our team has developed and give an opportunity for you to register to win a free copy of the resource. This week’s resource is smallgroup.com, a subscription-based, custom Bible study application for churches that want to give their group leaders a powerful discipleship tool and for group leaders who want to engage their group at a personal and intentional level. Our Groups team helped write this blog post.
I hear from church leaders all the time, from all over the country, and some of the statements seem conflicting. Pastors say, “Our small groups are the very core of who we are,” and to their churches, “If you get in a group, you will be well cared for and well shepherded.” But I also hear the message from some leaders when they speak to their congregations: “If you can brew coffee and play a video, you can lead a small group in our church.” Both messages can’t be true. If discipleship drives the mission of the church, if making disciples is the core commitment of the church, a group gathering must mean more than pushing play. If all it takes to be a group leader is pressing play and making coffee, we are overpromising what “getting into a small group” does for the people in our churches.
At LifeWay, we firmly believe discipleship is much more than simply pushing play. As a ministry that creates Bible study resources, we understand the tendency and temptation to place too much emphasis on a resource or a tool. I’ve been in ministry for more than twenty years and I know that it’s extremely easy for us to think that the answer to a discipleship problem in our churches is the next great idea, or the right Bible study, or some missing system that will cause everything to make sense. And as leaders, we can feel the pull toward those solutions, but we know deep down that those tools can’t actually make disciples. Those examples are not the answer to our discipleship problem. The answer to our discipleship problem is the power of God in the people we shepherd and helping them become awake to their calling to make disciples. The remedy for a discipleship problem is “pushing pause” on pushing play and pressing into the unique needs and unique gifts of real people in the church.
So, smallgroup.com, the resource we are featuring today, is an incredible tool, but it will never make a disciple. It does, however, help disciples make disciples in a focused, intentional way. The simplicity of smallgroup.com, and the Bible study customization it provides, can help pastors and group leaders have life-changing discipleship experiences in their groups. More than just a way for a group leader to push play, each session comes with discussion guides, so the bulk of the group time can be spent looking at one another and not looking at a screen. Currently, there are more than two thousand studies from all sixty-six books of the Bible, many of them with video. But, because we believe video teaching should only be a part of your Bible study, not the full experience, every video series comes with customizable study guides that engage both the text and the video content. Because each study guide is in the same format, group leaders are consistently prepared for their groups. All this allows groups to learn from incredible teachers, while framing each session around the biblical text and how the text applies to each group’s unique needs.
If you are interested, I invite you to preview smallgroup.com for thirty days. This is an opportunity for you to fully explore the tool and see how it can help you create custom, video-enhanced Bible studies. Click here to register for a free preview of smallgroup.com. Today, I am giving away two free subscriptions to smallgroup.com.
Enter here or in the form below by 11:59pm tonight, Wednesday, May 2, 2018 for your chance to win.