Dr. Robert Coleman, in The Master Plan of Evangelism, said Jesus was not concerned “with programs to reach the multitudes, but with men whom the multitudes would follow.” Jesus understood that in order to get larger you must get smaller. The discipleship in the small group will produce the leaders to reach the multitudes. Jesus invested everything in the small group of men that would one day lead the church. In fact, as the time got closer for him to leave them, he spent more time not less time with them. It is very easy for the church to get caught up in what attracts the multitudes and fail in the area that Jesus felt was most important. It is in the small, concentrated group where effective instruction can be given.
The most obvious application for this understanding is in our small group ministry on Sunday morning. The potential for training up leaders in the church is much greater in these small groups than in our group worship time. The worship service is important and something God asks us to do but it is not as essential to the future of the church as is the small group time.
Another place of application is during one-on-one discipleship. Kathy Beard did a great job the last two weeks presenting a case for investing in the life of new believers and those searching for answers. Through studying God’s Word with another person we will see them grow in ways that never could happen from a sermon series.
I challenge you in two areas. First, become an active part of a small group where you can learn and help others to live that which God calls us to. Second, find someone to study the Bible with. If you are a new believer find someone who has been a believer for a while. If you are a seasoned believer find someone who you can help. This was the strategy of Jesus and should continue to be our strategy as we engage Bartlesville and beyond with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.