Ingomar Church – A Church OF Small Groups
A Word about Discipleship from Pastor Cyndi
We all know that words we choose matter. You will notice that we have said a church “OF” small groups instead of “WITH” small groups. What is the difference and why does it matter?
Focus is the difference. According to The Effective Church Group, “the focus of churches ‘of’ small groups isn’t on fellowship or Bible study, even though both are always part of effective small groups. The focus of churches ‘of’ small groups is always making disciples who make disciples.” This matters a lot. There are many churches that have great fellowship or great Bible studies, but they are not making disciples. Jesus’ Great Commission is to GO and MAKE DISCIPLES. So, our words (our focus) matter a great deal.
We have a good number of small discipleship groups at Ingomar Church. Although we have fairly good participation, we are always looking for ways to invite others into discipleship groups. When we say “invite others”, that includes people within the congregation who are not yet connected with a discipleship group AND it includes people who are not yet connected to any church. Inviting outsiders is the “GO” part of the Great Commission.
This year, with COVID driving in-person meetings to Zoom and other social platforms, most of our discipleship groups have migrated to online meetings. Although this is not the preferred method of meeting, we have found it is much better than nothing. Your new pastor has gotten to know a good number of you via Zoom since July 1 and considers it vital during this time of isolation.
During this migration phase, we have discovered this online format has allowed people who live distant from us, or those who travel to warmer climates during the winter, to participate in worship, in discipleship groups, and in meetings. Also during this migration phase in which we focused on maintaining what we had and settling into the new format, thoughts of growing and multiplying these groups was put on the back burner.
Now, as we prepare to move into 2021, we are still facing restrictions that may remain for the foreseeable future, especially for those who are most vulnerable. However, we have settled enough to begin to think of and imagine ways to grow and multiply within those groups. Growing and multiplying our discipleship groups is how we continue to fulfill the Great Commission at Ingomar Church.
Small discipleship groups that have the intention of fulfilling the Great Commission as they grow in discipleship will be encouraged to hold a “Matthew Party” for the first time, on a date chosen by each group, in March 2021. A Matthew Party is named after the disciple Matthew who preached the Gospel in Judea and then went on to preach the Gospel in other countries, thus fulfilling the Great Commission of Christ, constantly inviting new people to follow Jesus.
Small group facilitators, I have several specific requests of you:
1. Please send me an email each time you begin a new study, which allows me to help keep our public information up-to-date.
2. In the coming months, discuss with your current group the need to invite others to join, and begin to formulate a list of specific people you will invite.
3. Prepare a special (online) activity for your group time near the end of March. If you don’t have any ideas, contact me and we can brainstorm some ideas together.
4. When you choose your date for your special activity, let me know. On this date, you will invite your targeted people (with no commitment required) to your group’s “Matthew Party”. These people can get a feel for who is in your group and whether the format and energy is a good fit for them. At that time, they have the option to join your group or not, without any judgment.
5. Following your Matthew Party, we ask you to share your results with us, which we can then celebrate with the larger church.
If you are not yet a part of a small discipleship group at Ingomar Church but would like to be, please let Pastor Cyndi know and we will determine together which Matthew Party would be the best fit for you. Consider inviting someone to join a group with you.
Remember, most people who come to know Jesus or come to a church do so because someone has invited them. Your invitation is vital to the growth of the Church of Jesus Christ in the world.
A growing group is a living group. When we are living we grow and multiply our DNA. You can participate in fulfilling the Great Commission at Ingomar Church!