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What Does It Mean to Be “Outward Oriented”?

Written by Bob Martin on

Group Members

Just like individual Christians are called to multiply (through evangelism and discipleship), Small Groups should also have a view for how to multiply God’s work in their lives. This happens in three ways:

1. Multiply Your Group

Imagine if everyone at our church wanted to get into community in a Small Group. Unfortunately, even if everyone wanted this, they wouldn’t be able to because there aren’t enough groups available for them to join.

So, how do we work together to create space for anyone who desires community to be able to find a Small Group? By creating more Small Groups. And how are new groups created? Through raising up more leaders!

The same Small Group is most often for a season, not for a lifetime. Each Small Group should look to multiply every 1–2 years (or at least evaluate if this is possible for them at that point). Even if the group isn’t ready to multiply yet, having this conversation and encouraging others to maximize using their gifts is very healthy.

It’s never too early to talk with group members about the possibility of them leading a group in the future. In fact, having them get involved in owning various parts of the Small Group can help them act like an “apprentice” and prepare them for future leadership!

2. Neighboring

While Small Groups are made of believers who are a part of College Park—we still need to look to multiply the gospel through evangelism: individually and as a group.

There are a number of different ways that Small Groups can support each other in evangelism:

• Regularly ask about and encourage group members to be engaged in evangelism and keeping one another accountable.
• Pray for non-believers in your Small Group gathering (in your prayer times/breakouts).
• Train group members to evangelize: whether during gatherings, 1-on-1, or through church trainings
• Plan events to participate in evangelism as a Small Group (like neighborhood events, barbecues, or big church events like the Christmas Concert).

Over the course of the year, your Small Group may want to consider taking an “80-20 approach” to the school year:
– Focus 80% inward (group members) and 20% outward (non-Christians) during the school year
– Focus 80% outward (non-Christians) and 20% inward during the summer months

The summer months are especially conducive to building relationships with non-Christians (individually or with other group members—like through a Summer Kids Club), and many groups meet less frequently during that season anyway.

3. Serving

Mission almost always builds community. Look for ways as a group to be serving others: in the church, in our city, or supporting God’s global work around the world.

Some groups may establish a long-term rhythm of serving together while another group may look for short-term opportunities. Different group members may be called to serve in different places, but sometimes even a sub-set of your group serving alongside each other can display rich life together.

How Do I Help My Group Grow in Evangelism

Bob Martin

Bob first joined staff at College Park as a Pastoral Resident in 2011 and has served in several important roles since that time. He now serves as the Pastor of Membership & Connection. Bob is passionate about seeing men and women enter into community with others to find hope together. He enjoys spending time with his wife, family, and friends.

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