“Spiritual goals can be achieved only by spiritual people who use spiritual methods.”
I have heard it said that we must “fight fire with fire.” But you know what happens when fire is used to fight fire? You get more fire. It just keeps burning and devastating everything in its path. It builds on itself and becomes more and more destructive. If you want to fight fire, you have to use the most appropriate method of extinguishing fire, something that has the opposite effect of burning and destroying.
In our world we have a lot of activity vying for our attention. Everywhere we go we see advertisements. Turn on the T.V., there is a commercial. Drive down the road, there is a billboard. Open a magazine in a waiting room or on a plane, and there is an ad. If there is one thing the world is good at, it’s grabbing our attention and causing us to give our time and energy to those things that satisfy our senses. So, as we prepare to start our New Life Church Groups there are some looming questions. “How in the world do we compete with all this? How do we get people to come and participate in our groups when they have so much more to pay attention to?”
Well, one option is to fight fire with fire. Let’s advertise. Let’s appeal to the senses and try to look just as attractive as all that is “out there.” Do we have what that takes? Can we satisfy the senses of the masses or will we just get lost in the blaze of sensory overload? The latter is most likely. Spiritual efforts require spiritual influences.
I do not recall Jesus standing on a corner between a dove salesman and moneychangers holding a sign that read, “Do you like to fish? I’ll make you fishers of men. Come join me,” and then waiting for someone to respond. No, Jesus used a different method. He was relationally intentional. Matthew 4:18 & 19 tells us, “As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.’” Jesus followed this pattern until he had gathered those the Father desired Him to lead. With each personal call, He received a personal response. They dropped what they were doing and they followed Him.
“With each personal call, He received a personal response.”
Here at New Life, we think that following Jesus’ example is a pretty good idea. That is putting it mildly of course. So, if this is how the King of kings built His small group, one that changed the world, then this should be how we build ours. As a church we provide some basic marketing for you. We promote New Life Groups as a whole, we provide a website where people can find Groups information, and from time to time there are events held by our overseeing ministries where groups can make themselves a little more widely known. But, by and large, the most important and productive way to market your group is through your own relational intentionality. So the real question to ask is, “Who do I know? Who is in my sphere of influence?” Consider family members, friends, Section Community members, co-workers, and neighbors. What about that person you just met at the grocery store? Acquaintances are great invitees. This is where you find your group members, by diving into these areas and intentionally inviting those whom the Holy Spirit places on your heart. The key is to be Holy Spirit led – there is no greater influencer or attention-getter in the world. Be prayerful and be obedient. If you do this, you will end up with exactly the right people during the exact right season of life. God knows those who need you and God knows whom you need. So trust Him to bring people to you through your faithful, obedient, and relationally intentional effort.
“God knows those who need you and God knows whom you need.”
One last thought. Be content! You may have a number in mind that constitutes a “successful” group. However, one thing is clear; numbers do not determine success in the church. Success is measured solely by the life changing activity of Jesus in people’s lives. As leaders, our role in this is to provide faithful, others minded, discipleship; helping others navigate the elements of spiritual growth and maturity through authentic biblical community. Whether God brings you 50 or 5, be faithful with those individuals and trust the Lord to use you, and the gifts He placed inside of you, to perfect the faith that resides within them. Then you will find success.
The fire of this world’s influence is quenched only through the cool and refreshing waters of Jesus, through faith-filled, obedient, and relational intentionality.
Go Deeper, Grow Stronger!