The final words of Jesus, as spoken in Matthew 28:19, tell us to go into all the world and make disciples. This is one of the most powerful sentences in the New Testament and yet perhaps one of the least understood and most neglected. It might be considered that these words of Jesus are only for an elite group of Christian leaders or special church members, and it might be difficult for many Christians to grasp the significance that these words are actually for every church member – that we all have a world to go into. It might be the world of your friends and neighbours, the world of your colleagues, of the people in your town or village. It might be the school gate. There is a world for each one of us to enter and there is a command from Jesus for each of us to do so.
So how might this take place? The reality is that at the moment 80% of the outreach is done by 20% of the church. But could you imagine a reverse scenario, where 80% of the body of Christ is active, with 20% supporting and encouraging them. We live at a crucial moment with church attendance struggling. Church members are not sure how they can be involved, how they can make a difference. The Christian message is often phrased in language that no one else uses.
So we need a whole new understanding of what does it mean to ‘go into all the world’, what will we say when we get there and how can we make this a part of our life and be confident to serve and to love and to be a good neighbour, to share our faith in words and deeds, and in actions when appropriate.
This booklet ‘Small Groups Bigger Kingdom’ is designed to be given to every church member so that we can all see that we each have a part to play. 70% of the people who come to faith do so because of connections – they are a part of a family, they are a friend, they are a neighbour, a work colleague, someone who is near to us. In other words the ‘go’ is about being a good friend and a good neighbour and speaking in language that people understand where and when appropriate.
The Queen, in her Christmas speech in the midst of Covid, said an extraordinary thing, “The streets are empty but they are filled with love.” What did she mean by this? I think she recognised that when society went quiet and the streets emptied and the shops and the places of entertainment closed then our Christian heritage, perhaps previously lost in all the noise of life, re-emerged and people understood the importance of their neighbour, of the needs and pain out there. We all became better people, Christian and non-Christian alike, and we all did the ‘go’ – we cared, we went.
So, Small Groups Bigger Kingdom will help a Christian to understand what the ‘go’ looks like today, how they can be a part of it and how their small group becomes the encourager, the ‘sustainer’ in this journey. Our small groups encourage us to be missional as a part of our life. I highly recommend this booklet Small Groups Bigger Kingdom to you.
Available from Cell UK