This week I was reflecting on James 1:22-
New International Version (NIV)
22 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
Among the many implications of this passage I began to think about how this apples to House Groups as I contemplate factors which affect the life cycle of a group. One factor which directly affects the life cycle of a group in a negative way is if the group has an unhealthy inward-focus.
This occurs when groups focus too heavily on fellowship and not enough on evangelism or mission. Some would argue that fellowship is about discipleship for their group. While quality fellowship and support is one of the rewards of house group ministry, it is an inadequate basis. If we have only “discipleship” through fellowship as our goal, the group is corporately self-centered, or self-focused. True discipleship always includes the outside world and seeks to engage it in meaningful and impactful ways.
When a group of people occupy themselves with each other to the exclusion of the outside world, discontent is sure to follow. We should be unwilling to consider the option of handling outreach at the large Sunday meeting and limiting house groups to a fellowship role. The group may not engage in outreach at its weekly meeting, but they have to work together and pray together on some shared mission.
Dennis McCallum states, “Good evangelism is God’s will for the church (II Cor.5:19,20). When the church loses its evangelistic edge, the sentence is spiritual death. No amount of study, love, sharing, or serving will save the church when we have no evangelism. This is the first priority for a leader.” http://www.xenos.org/classes/leadership/index.htm
In every sphere of life, every aspect, every structure within our lives, faith must be lived out in action to the world around us! This involves both “reaching people far from God” and “serving in the community”.
While action is immensely important, many people want to perform some type of “missional act” for God and impact the world, but they don’t see the need to embody the kind of love that will impact the world. Being missional and being relational are inseparably connected.