The group model is a fancy way of talking about what each small group will look like once it’s done being put together. It’s a lot like a model car or airplane. There’s a picture on the box of what it’s supposed to look like once everything is done being snapped and glued together and once it has all the decal stickers and paint applied. This manual is the box cover that shows us what the group will should look like.
There are several different methods or models for small groups. The first question we have to answer in determining the model that best fits us is what is our purpose for a small group ministry? If our purpose is to learn more about the Bible then that will shape the form of the group. Or if the purpose were to exist as a separate Church altogether then that would certainly shape the way the group looked. Since we have a clear purpose (establish and maintain a structure where relationships can be created and cultivated), we are able to envision our model with a great deal of clarity. Our small groups will consist of 7-15 people meeting in one another’s homes to discuss Biblical topics and passages, share in time of prayer and intercession and spend time in fellowship. An important note is that these numbers are exact. If a group does not have at least seven people sign up (including the leader and co-leader) then the group will not be formed. Each of those members will be asked to join another group. Likewise, once a group is at fifteen people it will be closed and no additional church members will be able to sign up. This may, at first, seem overly strict; however this is an intentional effort to respect the natural group dynamics that have been previously discussed. If the group is too small or too large, it will struggle to meet the intended purpose.
Open or Closed Groups
The idea of being open or closed has to do with whether or not the group will encourage and invite people to join the group while it is in session. Because of our primary purpose, each small group will be closed to our church members once it has begun. That means there’s no group hopping if someone becomes unhappy with their group. However, because of our secondary purposes of assimilation and evangelism, each small group will be open for us to invite our friends, new members or people who visit.