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Small Groups

How Small Groups Can PARTNER for the Gospel

Your church’s small groups have incredible potential to be evangelistic hubs in your community. Evangelism, like the other four purposes God has for us, cannot be accomplished alone. We need other people in our lives because we’re better together. We’re more evangelistically effective when we partner with others. Small groups are the perfect place to put this into practice. 

That’s why it’s so important for you to encourage your small groups to PARTNER together to share their faith. Here are a few specific ways they can do this. 

P – Pray for their lost friends. We can’t force anyone to love God, but we can pray for them. Prayer can do what God can do. Prayer melts hard hearts and warms up cold ones. I have seen it thousands of times.

Your small groups can pray for opportunities to share the Good News. Early Christians did this, and you can too: “Pray for us that God will give us an opportunity to tell people his message” (Colossians 4:3 NCV).

When small groups consistently do this, God will give them opportunities. In fact, they will start seeing them everywhere. As they have more opportunities to share the Gospel, they should keep a list of people who need to come to faith in Jesus—and regularly pray together for those people.

A – Appeal to common interests. Before your small groups can effectively share the Gospel, they need to establish relationships with non-Christians through shared experiences, common interests, and mutual challenges. Encourage them to make a list of people in their lives whom they can connect with over these elements. For example, maybe they know some other young moms they can build relationships with. Or maybe they can build relationships with fellow football fans. Building relationships with non-Christians through shared interests forms deeper connections and creates natural opportunities to tell people about Jesus.

R- Reach out in love. It’s critical to have the right motive for evangelism. Evangelism should be an act of love. God has given us the greatest news in world history. We share that message because it is fantastic news for the people in our lives. The Creator of the universe wants to have a relationship with us. That’s good news!

But we also share the Gospel as an act of gratitude. Jesus has forgiven everything we’ve ever done wrong. We owe him everything, so we tell people about Jesus out of gratitude.

T- Tell their stories. Your group members’ personal stories of coming to faith and responding to life’s challenges through God’s strength can play an important role in people coming to Jesus. Encourage your small group members to write out their testimonies and practice sharing them with one another. When they do this, they’ll build confidence and have a powerful tool they can use for evangelism.

N – Nurture friendships. We all want friends we can count on when we need them the most. Everyone has acquaintances. Very few people have deep, meaningful relationships. Encourage your small groups to partner together to nurture their acquaintances and turn them into friendships.

One of the best ways to do this is right in the Bible: Throw parties! Jesus did it. In fact, he was such a party animal that the religious leaders of Jesus’ day called him a glutton and a drunk (Matthew 11:19, Luke 7:34). But he taught his disciples to do the same thing (Mark 2:13-17).

Your small groups don’t need a fancy agenda for these parties. Encourage them to host a backyard barbecue and include people who don’t know Jesus. It’s really that simple.

E- Expect God to act. God works in people’s hearts when we expect him to. The Bible says, “According to your faith let it be done to you” (Matthew 9:29 NIV). I don’t fully understand how it works, but I know that when I pray and expect people to respond, it makes it easier for them to choose the right path. God never forces anyone to choose him, but our prayers can soften hearts.

R- Represent Christ with their lives. We need more audiovisual Christians who walk the walk and talk the talk—Christians who both live out and speak the Gospel.

Every person in your congregation has people in their lives who need to meet and respond to Jesus. God won’t write the Gospel in the sky for these non-Christians. He puts your congregants in their lives so they can show them how to get to heaven. Your small groups should help members grow into the kind of Christians who can live their faith out in front of their unsaved friends. 

This week, choose a few of the actions from the list above and encourage your small groups to PARTNER together to share their faith on a regular basis. Imagine what God could do through your church if you could mobilize every small group in your church to consistently put this into practice!

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