This weekend, we wrapped up our three-week event known as the Small Group Launch. This is where we form and launch new small group communities. We launched out nine new small groups. I’m encouraged!
This marks 44 new small groups, formed and launched, since the beginning of 2010. Speaking simply of numbers, this is the most fruitful year we’ve had forming new groups at Woodmen Valley Chapel. I’m excited that we have about 500 people in community who were not experiencing small group life a year ago. We’re growing, and that’s a good thing.
Yet is numerical growth an accurate measurement of success? Allow me to answer my own rhetorical question with a ‘Yes’ and a ‘No’.
First, the ‘Yes’. If people were not interested in engaging in authentic biblical community—it would point to a church-wide problem. It would suggest that folks are not hearing a consistent message from the church leadership emphasizing the importance of Christ-centered community. It might suggest that folks are punching their religious time card at the weekend service and are interested in little else. So, the fact that we have hundreds of people passionate enough to connect with the church about being connected with other believers is a huge positive.
Secondarily, our life-stage model for linking people together is connecting individuals and couples who are going through the same stuff of life. This connection is very practical, and very real. So the number of groups launched is something we rejoice in.
Yet that’s not the whole story. Which brings us to the ‘No’ of my rhetorical question—numerical growth is not enough. We’re seeking spiritual growth in our small group communities. Growth in our knowledge of who God is. Growth of who we are in relation to Him. Growth in Christ-likeness. Growth in an ever-deepening understanding and experience of God’s amazing grace. Growth!
As you might imagine, this one is much harder to quantify. Yet it’s something that we strive for in all of our small groups. As our people engage with Scripture in an honest and authentic way, they grow. As our people engage with each other, speaking truth into each other’s lives, they grow. As our people engage in acts of service toward one another, our church, and our community, they grow. This growth is measured in stories told, and in faithfulness shown to each other.
Growth. It’s something we unashamedly seek—both numerically and spiritually.