When Small is Big
Dec 10, 2020 | 3 min read | Dave Patty
Across Europe, governments are restricting the size of meetings to slow down the spread of Coronavirus. Since much of our work takes place when groups of people gather, this directly affects the church. Could a sovereign God use these limitations to actually strengthen his body?
The history of revivals shows us that small groups are key to sustaining spiritual growth. John Wesley made small groups central to the Great Awakening, and huge church growth in India and China has been fueled by small “house churches.”
Early on in Christ’s ministry we find him with Peter and Andrew in a home, and spreading the good news through many house meetings in Capernaum and Galilee. When the gospel exploded in Acts we find believers gathering daily in the temple and in homes.
Inspired by these examples, our JV Slovak team recently gathered together 200 youth leaders from across their country for two days of online training for small groups ministry. Using innovative online tools, all of the participants were able to see each other on the screen as they alternated between practical teaching and small online discussion groups. Since limited gatherings are still allowed in their local settings, they can immediately apply what they learned to hundreds of churches.
One major emphasis was the personal care needed for healthy small groups. Topics included “How to develop the potential in your young people,” and “How to ask great questions.” These “small” skills are actually very big, since small groups make a huge impact in local communities across Slovakia. Here are some comments from a few of the participants:
“Thank you for all the practical teachings on how to be a better listener, how to care for those who were given to me, and how to show interest. I cannot believe you pulled this off via ZOOM. I cannot believe that after three hours I would be willing to stay another three!”
“Thank you for all the ideas, answers to my questions, and thank you for the amazing skits! Can I be in them next time too?”
“Your hearts were especially encouraging for me. Every single person in your team modeled the love and care of Christ you were teaching us about.”
As we approach the end of the year, I am especially appreciative of your faithful financial support during this challenging time. Your prayers and gifts may seem small to you, but they are so significant to the JV team, and are making a big impact during a time of great spiritual need.
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