The story of Rahab always excites me. I love its display of redemption and salvation. Not only was Rahab’s life spared, and also the lives of her family, but they were all allowed to assimilate into the Hebrew culture. That is grace.
But the story does not end there. The best part of the story is when God blows all of our minds by actually mentioning her by name among many men’s names in Matthew 1. Not only did God redeem the harlot from death and invite her into His chosen family, He actually placed her in the lineage of Christ!
This is where I start thinking about small groups. If God uses the unexpected in the bloodline of our Savior, should we not also expect the unexpected in small group ministry?
Most people in Rahab’s shoes are not raising their hands screaming, “Pick me to lead!” They have a false idea that people who lead are always holy. They end up sitting quietly on their row keeping their secrets to themselves, continually living in shame. Maybe more importantly, they are not using the gifts that God placed inside of them to reach a lost world.
Christ, through the ministry of small groups, has the power to change that scenario. Let’s take a look at how we need to seek out modern-day “Rahabs” in our groups by considering a woman named Lucy.
1. Get your people talking so they can heal. Lucy and her husband joined a small group partially because her husband caught her being unfaithful in their marriage. They never brought up their issues to the group, but they did work on things at home. A few of the women in the group decided to meet after the semester for a mini-study. I urged Lucy to tell the group her secret, because I believed that she was not healing from her past sin even though she had repented to God and was forgiven. It was the hardest thing Lucy had ever done, but she did it.
James 5:16 tells us to confess our sins one to another so that we may be healed. When we confess our sins to God, we are forgiven, but healing comes when we share our lives with others.
2. Mentor and disciple. Lucy was a beautiful, friendly, smart woman who loved and feared God. She was changing her life in so many ways and applying all that she was learning. She had all the characteristics of a small group leader, but she believed leadership roles were supposed to be filled by perfect people. As she moved along through different small groups, every leader recognized her gifting and pushed her to become equipped to serve.
This should encourage us to take the time to invest in our members who have confessed secret sins. Many times people have a very hard time understanding what forgiveness is, or they can not forgive themselves. Understanding that forgiveness is key to tapping into the redemptive work that God can begin to do through us.
3. Push them out of the nest and watch them soar. When the time is right, we need to urge these people to begin pouring into other people. We finally convinced Lucy of her giftedness and purpose. Hesitantly, she agreed to lead a small group. Before long she was challenging single moms to talk more and share their hurts in their small group curriculum. She began pulling aside girls who were living in sexual sin, showing them what God’s Word says and urging them to live differently. She also became friends with the author of her small group curriculum and was learning and growing in her faith. Now women are lining up to join her small groups because they are hungry for what she has found in Christ.
Two Christ-filled conversions. One harlot who became the great-grandmother of Jesus. One adulteress who became a God-gifted small group leader. Both women were willing to accept God’s redemption, and through their obedience, their legacy will continue forever.
Carrie Hunt lives in Orange, Texas, with her husband, Newly, and two girls, Eden (5) and Salem (3). Serving as Small Group coordinator at her church, Bridge Point Fellowship, she focuses on equipping leaders with the practical skills of discipleship and encouraging parents to teach their children how to be followers of Christ in the home. Carrie’s blog, Restoration Family Fun, offers a steady stream of ideas and lessons for fun family faith talks. You can follow her on Twitter at @carriebakerhunt.