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As a Small Group Point Person you could probably tell me how many small groups your church has, or how many people are in your groups, or how many people you hope to connect into small groups this year. Or at least give me a close estimate. And many of us have “how many” goals for our ministry. Things like “add 10 small groups this season” or “increase small group engagement by 15%”. These are good goals and we should have them. But they are what I call “how many” goals. Often “how many” is used as a measuring stick for success because it is easy to measure.
Unfortunately, “how many” is also easy to compare. We often look at our ministry and compare it to others based on “how many.” I would never say this out loud, but if I have more small groups than that other church in my community, I feel like I am winning. And if I have less I somehow feel like Jesus likes that other church more. I might be the only one, but I doubt it.
OK. Time for a Surprise quiz –
How many apostles did Jesus name in Matthew 10 or Mark 3 or Luke 6?Right! 12
Can you name them without looking?
- Simon Peter
- James, son of Alphaeus (Sometimes called James the Less)
- Simon the Zealot
- Jude (or Thaddaeus or Judas, son of James)
- Judas Iscariot
Next question, how many times after Acts 1:13 are Simon the Zealot, Jude and Bartholomew mentioned?
Answer – None, zero, not at all. In fact, they are never mentioned anywhere in Scripture outside of a list of the apostles.
Scripture does not record them planting any churches. They are not mentioned as leading others to Jesus. There is no mention of their ministry in the Bible. They basically disappear from Scripture.
We have no idea “how many” people they told about Jesus. We do not know “how many” people they might have healed. None of them wrote a gospel. Their life after Jesus’ resurrection would definitely not be described as Big or Fast or Famous. It was almost the opposite. We might say their life was Small and Slow and Unseen.
So, if we compared them to the more “famous” apostles how do they stack up? I mean compared to Simon Peter or John or Matthew, these guys were insignificant, right?
Of course not!! They were apostles! Jesus called them to follow him. They spent three years learning from Jesus. They were at Pentecost! And Jesus sent them out to make disciples of all nations.
But we cannot measure “how many” they impacted.
So, what does this mean for you and me?
As a Small Group Point Person, you may be tempted to look at your ministry and think you are not making an impact. In fact, you might think Small and Slow and Unseen are perfect words to describe your ministry.
Let me remind you, Jesus called YOU! He has sent you out to make disciples of all nations. You are on the front lines of disciple making. You are leading the charge for spiritual growth in your community.
And even if you never get to some target number you are still making an eternal difference.
How do I know?
Because Small Groups create a place where we can share our lives with others. Small Groups create a place where we can encourage and challenge one another. Small Groups create a place where the Holy Spirit can make disciples. And you are creating that place.
Making disciples is hard to measure. And it is almost impossible to compare to others.
But Jesus did not call you to be Big or Fast or Famous. He called you to make disciples.