As a small group leader, I take great comfort in knowing that I do not have to hit home runs with every group discussion I lead or lesson I teach. I do, however, need to hit singles regularly. If people are not hearing something meaningful and applicable to them, you will probably not keep them for the long haul. The discussion and Bible study time does not have to be the greatest ever, but it must meet felt needs.
In many small groups—including one of the ones I am in now—the Bible teaching is done by way of video. This is fine. Perhaps not quite as good as good live Bible teaching, but better than poor live teaching!
If someone is not doing an effective job with the teaching portion, no amount of outreach will be enough to grow a thriving group and disciples will not be made. We need quality Bible teaching to make quality disciples.
On the other hand, groups that have quality teaching seem to grow almost automatically. Jesus attracted huge crowds. This was, in part, because he was such a masterful teacher. Mark 12:37 (NLT) records, “The large crowd listened to him with delight.” Good outreach can accelerate the growth even further, but we must have the basis of good teaching in order to grow a group. Notice that I’m saying “good teaching”—it does not have to be sensational.
If you want a church to grow, somebody had better be saying something helpful every week. Nothing can replace good content. Would you be attracted to a church that had great programs, nice music, but lousy sermons? People may stay in a church like that if they have a strong network of friends. They will stay reluctantly, however. Few new people will join.
The same is true of small groups. You may have all the invitations, parties, and games you need to gather a crowd. But if someone is not saying something helpful to the group, people will not come back. In the long run, good advertising will never cover for a bad product. The label is important, but it’s what is in the bottle that counts. They may judge a book by the cover. They may even buy it because of the cover. They will not read it unless the author has something to say.
Adapted from “You Can Double Your Class in Two Years or Less.” This topic is explored further in the following video.