If you haven’t picked up on the rhythm of “Discipleship that Fits” yet, Bobby and Alex devoted two chapters to each of the five social-spiritual contexts. By way of review those include: public context, social context, personal context, transparent context, and divine context. These groups of people get progressively smaller as you work down the list, each with its own added benefit to an overall picture or system of what it takes to make a well rounded disciple.
The reason I am reviewing this book is because it made since of so many things I have experienced as a minister. I believe it will bless your ministry and give you a deeper understanding of how people interact in groups and how, then, those groups can be used to grow stronger disciples.
What are the goals for this context of 20-70 people? They list the goals on pages 111-118. The goals include being a place of community and connection. It isn’t massively large “big church” (the public context where some will struggle to connect on a deeper level) and it also isn’t an intimate gathering of two to four people (the transparent context). It is a good size for people to find someone to connect with in a non-threatening environment. This also means it is a great place for people to go on mission together (purpose 2) and for people to use their gifts (purpose 3).
If people are going to mature in their faith they need outlets to use their gifts. It is difficult to get 1000 people to use their gifts on Sunday morning in the assembly. The social size (20-70 people) group is the perfect size to delegate responsibility to people so that they can create a sense of ownership and identity with the group.
Like I said before, where the social context is usually utilized in Churches of Christ is Bible class. But even still in that environment you have one person teaching and the rest in the audience with minimal participation and rarely ever any mission.
One of the things you might consider doing is thinking of ways to mobilize the groups in your church that already exist to be on mission and delegate responsibilities for people to exercise their gifts for ministry. Assign roles and responsibilities. Turn your Bible class into a missional community (or something at least approximating one).
Up next…small groups!