3 More Phrases That Reveal Opportunities For Small Groups


In this follow up post from Part 1 - my goal is to alert us as small group members to a discipleship gauge Jesus gives us. Jesus says that the things that we say are a reflection of the state of our heart (Luke 6:45). So, as disciple-makers we should pay attention to the things that are coming out of our own mouths and out of the mouths of our brothers and sisters.

Following are 3 key phrases to listen for in small group to help us gain insight into the heart. In the first post we considered phrases the reveal opportunities for growth – here we will identify phrases that reveal opportunities for encouragement. Opportunities for encouragement are phrases that signify areas where the Gospel has taken root and has born faith, righteousness, maturity, or, “good fruit.” These are opportunities to celebrate the work that God is doing in the lives of other small group members.

1. “I’ve been trying to share the Gospel with someone at work/in my family/in my neighborhood.”

“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (Romans 10:15) It is the mark of a maturing believer to act on his call to preach the Gospel to a world that will despise him for it. As the initial excitement that the gospel brings dies down, it seems to become very difficult for some to engage unbelievers with God’s gospel. Over time, God works on our hearts and gives us new courage and a new love for Him that spurs us on to do so anyway. It is a thing to be celebrated, not only that a believer is being convicted and acting on that conviction, but also that a believer is coming to their small group for encouragement, accountability, and gospel truth. Set aside time in small group to celebrate, encourage, and pray for those who are willing to share with their small group their own preaching of God’s good news.

2. “We want to be more faithful in being present at church services/giving to the church/engaging with the members of the church.”
Do not let opportunities like this slide by. Members who say things like this are mature enough to recognize specific areas where their lives do not meet God’s standards. Not only this, but their love for God drives them to engage with his church on a deeper level, and they have brought these concerns before the small group. Let us not fall into the trap that believes that the most Godly of us will have the least to confess. The reality that the Bible presents is that as we walk with the Lord, we will in fact see our own sin more clearly. As God moves among our church through the consistent preaching of the Word and through consistent engagement with each other around the Word, we should expect to hear our members confess their own shortcomings and desire the more excellent way. Celebrate the vulnerability of a believer who is willing to share something like this. Encourage these believers in their love of the church.
3. “I’ve been thinking about something the pastor said during the sermon on Sunday.”
Praise God! There are few things more exciting for a small group leader to hear. This statement reveals grace at work. When a believer hears God’s Word and responds, they are sanctified and grow in maturity. This is even true if a member comes to small group with questions about the sermon. This shows an attitude of the heart that is disposed to engaging with God’s Word on Sunday mornings. These members come to Sunday service and then to their small groups ready to engage and be engaged. We know that we are, “transformed by the renewal of your [our] mind.” (Romans 12:2)  A member who uses this kind of language understands this as well and is ready to, “work out your [their] own salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:12) Celebrate the renewal that God is enacting in the hearts of your brothers and sisters. In the end, this is such an encouragement to the small group, to know that God is working through the ministry of our church.  

Discipleship is the God-ordained building up of his church into the fullness and stature of Christ. This happens primarily in the context of the local church and in the context of relationship. One of the ways we do this at Mercy Hill Chapel is through small groups. As you engage in discipleship through small groups, listen to one another, listen for phrases that reveal an opportunity for encouragement.