1. Personal Discovery
First, personal discovery happens in small groups better than large groups for a number of reasons. You can learn, ask questions, involve yourself in the lives of others, and generally make yourself vulnerable among other people who are doing the same in small groups.
You just can’t do that in sermons. There is no conversation, no feedback, and no questions. There’s no room to challenge the preacher or even question any part of what’s being taught. Spiritual growth happens better with others, in community, with open lines of communication and freedom to speak into one another’s lives.
2. Smaller Communities Are More Effective
Second and closely related to the first, smaller communities act more like, well, communities. That may seem like a given, but the bigger the group is, the less like community it feels. The kind of community I am advocating requires a level of intimacy easily lost as numbers grow.
You simply cannot know everyone beyond a certain point, and you certainly will not open up about your struggles and sins in a large group of people you don’t know.
3. Deeper Friendships
With that in mind, the third factor is that small groups deliver deeper friendships that double as accountability. When people know you, really know you, your life becomes far more transparent, including your sin.
Others learn to read you and will call you out for those sins, creating opportunities to deal with real life difficulties as they surface. This is part of what we should expect from good friends.
4. Maximum Participation
Finally, small groups deliver maximum participation. There are opportunities to discuss the issues with others in the church. Church life issues can be discussed openly among trusted friends.
Mission can be planned out and participated in together. Lives are sharpened and leaders developed. Small groups are an absolute necessity for involving as many people as possible in the life and ministry of your church.