The five purposes of small groups is a clear and biblical approach adapted from Rick Warren. It stems from his book titled, The Purpose Driven Life. Believers are in need of a clear and biblical approach to understanding the power of small group. The first aspect of the five purposes is, Connecting with God’s family. The essence of small groups is a shared vision for people to grow and become close friends. Friendships that are built upon the Word of God are a priority of small groups. Belonging occurs when healthy relationships are formed within a loving community of believers. The early church in Acts is a great example of people loving one another (Acts 2). Secondly, is for people to grow to become like Christ. Discipleship is the growth of believers to live upon the principles and life of Christ. The loving community encourages one another to live out the heart of Christ. Galatians 5:22-23 illustrates the need for people to grow into mature disciples of Christ (Matthew 28:19-20). Jesus spent a majority of His time with the disciples. Through His investment into their life, the early church grew and reached many that were lost.
Thirdly, we see the principle of developing into ministry. The gospel was not meant to stay within a small group, but to be communicated with all people. Believers are to use their spiritual gifts and abilities to grow the church (Eph. 4). The importance of small groups is creating an environment for people to discuss their questions of serving God. People are seeking out tangible ways to honor God with their lives. Once a person develops a passion to serve, the church grows and many people are impacted with the gospel.
Fourth, the need for sharing the gospel (evangelism) must be a priority of small group ministry. Evangelism is much more than a program on a certain night of the week. People must learn that everyday we must influence people with our lives and in our words. Believers are the mouthpiece of God and the message is the gospel (Luke 19:10).
Lastly, worship through surrender is the overarching need for every small group. The reason that all of the principles are mentioned is because above all, bringing glory to God through a lifestyle of worship is the most important. Intimate times of worship with a small group are valuable to developing mature disciples of Christ.
The principles of small group ministry are biblical and timely. God’s Word is filled with many more scriptures and principles, but these main five sum up the heart of the need for community and relationships.