Seven weeks into our Legacy Small Groups Church and we’re averaging 576 each Sunday evening in 35 different homes. Those numbers are more than double what we’ve been averaging here on Sunday nights for years. And I’m excited by those numbers. I think the numbers do point to realities that can’t be ignored. But I’m even more thrilled by the things that are happening in our Small Groups that can’t be measured.
Visitors to our congregation who are invited to attend a Small Groups meeting are placing membership with our church family almost immediately. They feel a connection—that connection everybody who’s looking for a church home is seeking. They’re plugged in to a group of friends, they share a meal, they sing and pray and study together, they laugh and visit, and they’re made to feel warm and welcomed in ways that can never happen in a Bible class or in a worship assembly.
People are getting to know brothers and sisters they’ve never even met before. When our group began, there were four families who had signed up to be with us I didn’t know at all. Now, after seven weeks, I know them very well. I sing with them. I know what their favorite movies are. I know what foods they like. I play with their kids. I know what they do for a living. And I know what scares them. And I know what they’re dealing with in their own families and jobs. And I know that if I never saw any of them again for ten years, I could run into them anywhere and feel an instant connection.
I love listening to our elders at Legacy talk about our members in more personal ways because they’re calling our Co-Leaders once a week and actually eating and praying and visiting our members in their homes. It’s so refreshing to hear one of our elders talk about so-and-so, knowing they were at so-and-so’s house the night before. I overhear their conversations that are peppered now with phrases such as, “Last Sunday we were at Bob & Judy’s house…” and “I was talking to Jerry over at Bill & Pam’s house…” and “The folks over at Larry & Shannon’s house are saying….” It’s fantastic. And I know our elders are energized by the actual shepherding opportunities they’re being given.
I’m excited about the way a lot of our groups are jumping into the actual application of the Word. Some of our groups are making sure every week to apply what we’re studying on Sunday mornings into their daily lives and their Small Groups lives. We have groups who have committed to writing encouraging notes to each other’s friends at their work places. A couple of groups are visiting hospitals and nursing homes together. Following this past Sunday’s lesson on evangelizing the world and our emphasis on the upcoming Missions Sunday, one of our groups began writing letters to our missionaries and another group planned a group-wide garage sale for March 29, with all the proceeds going into the Missions collection plate on the 30th. (Why didn’t we think of that?)
And the ministry opportunities within each group are impossible to miss. I know of several that probably don’t need to be shared in this public forum, several of our members who are being taken care of by the loving brothers and sisters in their Small Group.
The only problem—and it’s a wonderful problem to have—is that our groups are all bulging at the seams. Ten of our 35 groups are averaging over 20 in attendance, three of them over 30. And there’s just simply no room to invite visitors or new members or current church members who aren’t involved yet into those crowded situations. The idea is to eventually expand to include the entire church family in Small Groups. And that’s going to take a series of meaningful multiplications.
At last night’s “Multiplication Meeting” (everything you ever wanted to know about multiplying your small group but were afraid to ask) we identified seven groups that are ready to form two new groups each. The time table is for those groups to be formed on March 23rd and to announce the new groups and hold the new signups on March 30. There may be more who want to do the same thing in the next couple of weeks. Multiplying isn’t easy and it’s not without its challenges. But everyone at last night’s meeting understands the concept. And that’s most of the battle.
There was a real sense of energy and excitement about what God is doing with our groups at last night’s meeting. It seems everyone has a story about something good that’s happened in one of their homes. And it seems all who were present last night have a genuine appreciation for the ultimate vision of connecting with everybody in the Legacy family through Small Groups.
Please pray for continued blessings from God as we move into the next phase of Legacy Small Groups Church.