Let Small Groups to Serve One Another
Anchor command. “Shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God.” 1 Peter 5:2-3
Anchor story. Moses’ father-in-law Jethro advises him to shepherd God’s flock. Exodus 18:13-36.
Anchor verse. “I left you in Crete, to set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you.” Titus 1:5
Learning goal. Understand accurately God’s pattern to organize for action.
Growth goal. Discern and put to use the varied gifts that God has given to all members of the congregation.
Skill goal. Lead in a way that all believers know and exercise their spiritual gifts in an active way, in love.
Outcome goal. Believers serve each other and their neighbors; shepherds share responsibilities with other shepherds; and churches cooperate with each other.
1) Moses, a seer, saw into the future and inspired his followers with his vision of what God would do.
God gives to some leaders the ability to start flocks in new areas. They help shepherds to plan and to multiply these flocks.
2) Joshua, a fighter, carried out Moses’ vision in a practical way. He sometimes used military force.
God gives courage to some organizers to keep serving Him even when people oppose them. They spur workers to persevere.
3) Aaron, a manager, was High Priest and made sure that other priests carried out the daily priestly duties.
God gives to some organizers skill to manage accurately the details of a ministry, making the work easy for the other workers.
4) Barnabas, an encourager, was compassionate. He helped people to work together in harmony.
God helps some organizers to make His work socially enjoyable. They assure and console, and enjoy dealing with people’s needs.
Good organizers balance these four strengths, often combining them in a team of leaders.
· Which of these four strengths for organizing do you do well? For which do you need help?
· A good organizer works closely with helpers who have spiritual gifts that he lacks.
· Rarely can an organizer attain well all four of these strengths by himself, like Jesus, David and Paul did.
Good organizers share leadership responsibilities. Jesus, David and Paul did not work alone.
Good organizers keep groups small enough so that every member can speak freely and receive attention from the leader.
· A visionary leader sees in his heart what God will do, and shares this vision with others.
· They might mentor other leaders quietly, like Moses who let Aaron do the public speaking.
· Peter and others who organized new congregations in the book of Acts were initiators.
· A visionary leader, like Moses, knows clearly what God wants his flock to do. If no one provides such foresight, then shepherds cannot lead, because they do not know where to go. Teaching by itself is neither organizing nor leading. And simply enforcing rules leads nowhere.
· Titus stayed in Crete to train shepherds for the new flocks that Paul had started (Titus 1:5).
· Good managers organize to do what God requires of a flock. Flocks are to tell about Jesus, pray, give, counsel, teach, serve the needy, develop fellowship, strengthen families, organize to serve, develop virtues, worship, start new flocks, train leaders and send missionaries.
· Which are you, an initiator or a manager? (Very few organizers do both well over a long time.)
· Meet with your co-workers and help them organize the way Jethro told Moses to do so.
· Visit believers who should serve as shepherding elders and help them to get started. If any leaders need to learn more about organizing correctly, then review this study with them.
Play a game of ‘Wolves’ to compare bad
organizing with good organizing
(do not do this during worship).
Wolf Game, Part 1
a) Ask ten or more people to play sheep. Let them stand in a line without moving.
b) Name three “wolves” and a shepherd. The wolves may move around.
you say ‘Go’ the wolves are to try to capture sheep.
If a wolf touches a sheep, it has to fall down.
If the shepherd touches a wolf, it has to fall down.
Stop when several sheep are ‘dead.’
Wolves attack and devour sheep.
Wolf Game, Part 2
a) The shepherd organizeshis sheep into small groups, with a new shepherd to guard each group from the wolves.
b) Say “Go!” again and stop when the wolves are dead.
· Ask everyone:
is more valuable, a sheep or a human soul?”
“Why did Jethro advise Moses to name shepherds for small groups?”
“Which is better, to have many shepherds leading many small groups of believers, or to have one shepherd leading one very large flock?”
· Discuss why God wants us to form small groups.
Explain the leaders’ four duties from #2
above: vision, firmness, thoroughness and kindness.
Let believers give reports of help received from a group small enough to deal with their needs.
· Explain the need for both initiators and managers in God’s work.
· Sit in groups of two or three to pray, make plans and encourage one another.
· Before the Lord’s Supper tell how Jesus fed 5,000 men (Luke 9:12-17). They sat in groups of about fifty each, to make sure everyone was fed. We, too, may eat the Lord’s Supper in small groups, so all believers can join this ‘participation’ in the body and blood of Jesus (1 Corinthians 10:16-17).
· Those who teach children should read study #81 for children.