Making small groups unmissable meetings with Rich Wilson

Have you ever been part of a church service, prayer meeting, or festival where God is so evidently present that no-one wants to leave?

Imagine if that was what happened in your small groups every week. You would quickly find that new groups would have to be started to just to keep up with demand. And that is how the Fusion Movement started. In this mini-episode of the podcast, we ask Fusion Movement team leader Rich Wilson – who was running those groups in the early days – how our groups can look like that: how our small groups can become unmissable meetings.

This mini-episode is only 7 minutes long. And if you are involved in leading a small group, bible study, or student ministry you should listen. It’s free on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever else you get your podcasts. You can also hear it through the embedded player at the end of this post.


Here are three simple guiding values for amazing small groups – to hear how they’re applied, make sure you listen to the episode.

Under each one is a series of questions to explore the principle a bit more. And if you feel challenged/worried/inadequate while reading them make sure you read my note at the end of the post.

Additionally, why not go through questions these with your co-leaders/student teams?

1) Love God

It shouldn’t come as any surprise that love for God should be the heart of every small group. I mean, if it’s not about loving God, what is a small group for?  None the less, it’s surprisingly easy to lose focus. As the evangelist from J John is quoted as saying:

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” – Cannon J John

Here are some questions to think about this more:

  • How much of our time together is directed toward giving thanks to God?
  • Do we spend time in worship (be it sung, or not)?
  • Do we read the Bible to know more about the Bible, or more about God who breathed those words?
  • Do we hold each other accountable on how we’re living out the calling to follow Jesus?
  • Does everyone drop out around exam time, or do small groups become even more vital when the pressure is on?

2) Love one another

“As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples” – Jesus (John 13:34-35)

  • Would you notice if a member of the group started missing meetings regularly?
  • When members of the group are unwell, in hospital, or in trouble with the police do you visit them?
  • Does your daily prayer include the small group members?
  • Do you make time to keep up with people outside uni term time/over the holidays?
  • Is there space of members of the group to not ‘be okay’ during a small group?

3) Love the lost

This could be taken in two ways. Firstly, those who are lost in the sense that they don’t know Jesus…lost sheep, in the Luke 15 language. It could also be those who are maligned or unwelcome in the rest of society, however. These questions cover both.

  • Would you feel comfortable bringing a friend along who was interested in finding our more about Jesus?
  • Are you conversations mainly esoteric theological exploration rather than applicable discussion about how to follow Jesus? (This is often one of the many places I fall short).
  • Could a non-Christian hear and experience the gospel through your small group?
  • Are there people at church or uni who you really wouldn’t want in your small group?

Finally…

Those are quite a lot of difficult questions. No small group would be able to answer yes to each of them every week (certainly not the one my wife and I lead). There is so much grace in Christ to keep working it out.

The beauty of following Jesus is that we are called to offer everything that we have – the very best of our ability – trusting that God will take our humble efforts and use them to His glory. It’s not about being able to answer ‘yes’ to each of these questions: it’s about using our God-given gifts to magnify the gift-giving God trusting that, where we lack, He alone is more than sufficient.

These questions are only to sharpen and strengthen those gifts.

Listen to Rich’s excellent input here:


For more brilliant content from Fusion I can not recommend this workbook on small groups highly enough:

Small Groups Big Mission by Alan Taylor