How committed are your small-group members? This year I will have a number of opportunities to teach on healthy small groups. I will probably teach about the commitments test. There are at least three levels that small-group members are committed to in their groups.
1. Committed to the activities of the group.
For example, your small group meets every Friday from 8pm to 10pm. The members committed to the group will show up at most meetings and participate in what goes on during the meeting. But their commitment ends there. They have little or no contact with group members in between meetings.
2. Commitment to the people in the group.
Members with this commitment are committed to the people in the group. Their relationships may have started in the group, or they may have known some of the group’s members before they joined the group. But they really believe that they are “members of each other” (Romans 12:5) and continue to connect and share life outside their regular Friday meetings.
Covid was a good test to see if folks were from the first or the second group. Those who had been just connected to the activities of the group disappeared during the covid pandemic when folks could not meet in person. But if they were committed to the people in the group, they would still try to connect with each other through phone calls, social media, etc. And when we were allowed to meet in smaller groups, e.g., groups of three, they would jump at the opportunity to meet in whatever numbers were permitted. These members loved each other in Christ.
3. Commitment to the mission of the group.
Healthy small groups should be missional groups committed to serving the Lord. They will be committed to evangelism, ministering to the needy, and supporting missions and missionaries, etc. They will be groups that heed Jesus’s call to bear fruit that lasts (John 15:16). Members who are committed to the mission of the group will live by Hebrews 10:24 and spur “one another to love and good deeds”. They see their community as a community for others.
Healthy small groups will have members with commitments 2 and 3. They will be committed to one another and love one another as Christ has loved them (John 15:12). But they will also be committed to bearing fruit that lasts. How healthy is your small group?