We really don’t have small groups in our church. (Yeah, I know. Perhaps it would be a good idea.) Anyway, I was taken by this account of how Williamsburg Christian Church moved their small groups in a missional direction. It wasn’t so much an entirely different way of doing church or taking the entire church in a whole new direction, but a shift. It was, says the author, about piloting the church by working with a small group of persons to practice discipleship differently. Here’s what he says:
When I arrived at Williamsburg Christian Church our small groups ministry needed change. There were three groups totaling approximately 25 people, and they were mostly inward-focused. Instead of meeting with group leaders to cast a new vision and preaching a few sermons followed by launching a new “small group program,” I decided to take a different approach. I wanted to pilot the change.
Piloting is an intentional way of exploring a different way of being in the world together with other disciples. If failures or difficulties arise it impacts a small few who are aware of this possibility and are equipped to work through it in a healthy way, rather than the entire faith community. More importantly, piloting teaches a community of disciples how to listen and discern what God is up to in their context.
For my wife and I, the first move to piloting change for our small groups involved inviting others to share in this life and mission with us. We wanted to meet around the table, practice prayer and discern Scripture three weeks a month to learn how to be with God as a community so that in the fourth week we could intentionally join Him in what He was doing in the lives of our neighbors and co-workers. It would require each of us to listen attentively with our ears and eyes to our neighbors and co-workers. Who might God be calling us/me to love? Who might God be calling to love me/us? Who are the single moms among us? Who are the widows? Who just had a family loss or addition? How could we be present with them in this season and serve them in some tangible way? We wanted it to be much more than service projects, we wanted it to be presence; we wanted to extend gracious hospitality and make room for them in our life together by demonstrating tangible acts of self-giving love. As I shared this vision with other families in the Church four of them agreed to join us. So together we began exploring life and mission as one and the same.
Please see the whole article at their site.