Minister to One Another
Ps Dev Menon
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom…
What is the point of AG? That is one of the questions I get regularly asked when I start a new group or do an ‘end of year review’. What is the objective of this AG? It’s a really good question!
We know from Col 1:28-29, that the duty of the shepherds of the church is to make everyone mature in Christ – by teaching & admonishing everyone in all wisdom. Our job, as spiritual leaders, is to make Jesus known to you, by teaching you the Word of God… and to structure the church so as to ensure this happens with every individual.
However, by the time we reach chapter 3, the apostle Paul states that if the Word of God is being taught effectively, it has a knock-on effect. It should cause everyone to minister to each other.
That is to say, members of the group, are filled with the knowledge of Christ in such a way that it motivates each individual to reach out to the other individuals in the group: to see how they are doing spiritually, and to teach and apply the gospel to one another, just as their leaders have taught and demonstrated to them.
Over the last 2 decades, I’ve made some mistakes in leading small groups. Sometimes the group becomes quite ‘academic’ – in the sense that the studies are interesting, but it doesn’t translate to affecting our relationship with Jesus or with one another. Sometimes the small group becomes quite ‘social’ – we become good friends, but no one is applying the gospel to one another, or challenging one another to grow. These social groups become insular and inevitably stagnate. Or sometimes the leader is really good but doesn’t train the members of the group to minister to one another – so they never mature (plus the leader tends to burnout).
These days I try to be clearer from the outset: the goal of this group, is for the leaders to teach everyone the Word of God, in such a way that everyone in this group starts to minister to one another (and hopefully reach out to their non-Christian friends and family too).
That has become the primary basis of review each year. If after a couple of years it’s still not happening, something has got to change, or the group may even have to disband and be integrated into other existing AGs. Sounds a bit drastic, but not doing anything is always worse in the long run.
We have to remember God’s mandate to us: “to present everyone mature in Christ”.