by Jared Musgrove and Kristen Jackson
Begin With the End in Mind
There is both a challenge and a blessing to gospel-centered multiplication. And that is often leading the conversation about multiplying. And when we say “lead”, we mean from the beginning. Often we make the multiplication more difficult because we don’t talk about it until too far into the group’s life cycle that it catches everyone off guard. The best time to begin talking about multiplication is on the first night of a new group. Or during your training of new group leaders. One of the best, most biblical things you can do is remind them to pray from day one that Acts 2:47, “and the Lord added to their number day by day”, is the outcome for every group. That this is our goal. This is what we do.
There are most certainly people who are in your small group who believe in Jesus, have the Holy Spirit living in them, and are capable of leading a group. Often they are already leading in other ways as well within the group. Train leaders to take notice of the spiritual gifts in the group. This is most meaningful when we take enough interest in others, allowing us to be specific. Be observant of those in your believing community. Who is quick to volunteer and serve others? Who models self-control in their words and actions? Who exhibits patience with those who talk perhaps more than their fair share?
Based on what you observe, offer concrete examples of how you have seen this person live out their faith. It’s deeply encouraging to hear, “I saw God’s grace at work when you did this or said that.” Specific examples bless the hearer and show that you have taken genuine interest in them
Steward SpaceSometimes the living room space, or lack thereof, makes the argument for you. New group leaders will usually be trained, have people connect to their group, and then start in a living room. Two of our group leaders shared about this idea of the space in their home, “We wanted to invite new people in, but we didn’t want people to get too comfortable. We wanted a sense of being uncomfortable in community, even if that means space constraints in the first few weeks.” And the full house often makes the multiplication point.
Each person in your small group is an embodied soul, an emotional being. Throughout the course of your time together in small group, there will inevitably be rejoicing and mourning, celebration and sorrow. It is in these moments that your group can live out the “one another” commands of the New Testament. We are taught in scripture to love and encourage one another, to bear each other’s burdens, to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. We are taught to consider others as better than ourselves, to serve one another with glad hearts, and to pray for one another. Groups are the place that these things can happen naturally. Together, we practice applying the Gospel to every aspect of our lives. And mutltiplication of your Group means that even more souls may be stewarded as the New Testament commands.
Mind the End as a New Beginning
Several will (and should!) multiply out from the leader’s influence and direction as new leaders and perhaps as coaches for groups. The constant refrain is that relationships don’t have to dissipate just because a new group starts out of an existing one. One of our group leaders said is best, “It isn’t that we won’t remain in relationship with each other, it’s just that our friendships are going to evolve. That’s the nature of what we do as leaders, as people.”
And as Christians.
Dr. Jared Steven Musgrove is Groups Pastor and an elder serving The Village Church in Flower Mound TX where he directs Home Groups and Recovery Groups. He is a contributor to For The Church, PreachingSource.com,and Lifeway Groups. He serves on boards for Southwestern Seminary and Beta Upsilon Chi, is the co-founder of the Community Leadership Cohort, and is author of the group guide to B&H Academic’s Superheroes Can’t Save You: Epic Examples of Historic Heresies. He is the proud husband of Jenny and father of Jordan and Joshua. You can follow him on Twitter at @jsmusgrove.
Kristen Jackson serves as Groups Minister at The Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas. She worked for twelve years in public school education as a teacher and administrator before coming on staff at TVC. She has studied at Dallas Theological Seminary and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.