Many congregations have lost attendees following Covid 19. A commonality for those who have come back to church is that they were a part of a small group. The relationship factor from being in a small group has demonstrated that those who are a part of such a group are much more likely to continue attending regardless of what they or society faces.
As one who is in a hiatus from pastoring, I realize how important the relationship factor is for me. Yes, correct Bible teaching is very important to me. But if a congregation had correct teaching, but neglected having small groups, my own motivation to be a part of a local church would diminish. Each Sunday morning as my wife and I go to church, I look forward to worship, but I also think about the people I will see and talk with. Now I’ve had times in my life, even when I was young, when I would stand against the crowd if I felt people were going to engage in behavior that was wrong. It wasn’t easy, but I did it. I remember in a college class arguing against evolution, even though all the vocal students opposed my views as a creationist. As one who can stand against the crowd, I realize I need relationships, and the best place to develop and build them is in a local congregation.
The relationships at church are very important to me. And the best way to develop relationships is by being a part of a small group, be it a Sunday class, life group, or whatever name you choose. It doesn’t matter is they meet on Sunday at the church campus or during the week in someone’s home. The groups just need to meet.
It’s important for every church to stress the importance of each attendee and member to be a part of such a group. It should be a part of the expectations.
The groups need leadership. The leaders need to be growing and developing and maturing their relationship with the Lord. Such leadership needs to be developed.
Start with people who are not a part of a life group and encourage them to become active in a life group.
Ashton C. Smith, Certified Church Consultant