Friday, March 2, 2012

Organic small groups

We have been looking at our small group program lately.  Honestly, it's not much of a program.  Programs require work, organization, finances and publicity.  We decided from the beginning that at Watermark small groups would be encouraged, but not managed.  Actually, we've even challenged our people to start their own groups.  I told them that if they need "official permission", they now have it!

We believe that being a part of a group of people that love you, pray for you and that keep you accountable is very important.  This is where authentic relationships exist, which is our first core value.

We have one group of young German University students (girls) that meet in a pub. A bilingual, co-ed group meets in a dorm.  A group of guys meets at different places (with the motto "What is said in this room stays this room").  And we have groups that just get together every now and then, like our worship team.  They like to jam together and perform publicly as a group, as well as watching each others' gigs.  The only group that we initiated is a teaching-style Bible study.

Yes, this is giving away control.  And it could potentially allow a group of people to head off in the wrong direction.  But is leadership really all about control?  Or is it more about equipping, imparting into and releasing people to do what God has called THEM to do?

By allowing leaders to lead naturally, instead of us creating a structure and putting them over a group, we allow their leadership gifts and talents to be developed.  We don't have to provide the direction, energy or structure to keep things going.  And never forget if the true leaders that God sends you aren't given a chance to lead within your church, they will go somewhere else.

Besides, if we'll just keep the team focused on our core values and our mission, those that want to hijack the vision won't gain the influence necessary to do so.

This church is really a lifeline and a family for our people. We don’t really have a lot of rules or organization, but we have a team that is so amazing... they take initiative and just make things happen. As the team grows, our people are taking others under their wings and “mentoring” them in a very natural and organic way. It is exciting to see something working very well that was only a dream 18 months ago.

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