Small group ministry
Reading: Matthew 28:16-20
Blanks: authority, disciples, everything
Today we are going to think about small group ministry.
We are already a small group of people.
But I am talking about a gathering of two or three people for their spiritual growth.
Sometimes smaller is better.
Sometimes less is more.
Because some good spiritual conversation can happen in a small group.
You know, in a small group we can ask a lot of questions easily.
We freely talk about our personal spiritual experiences.
We can talk about how our spiritual lives are at the moment.
So there is some good benefit of having a small group.
I think Jesus understood that sometimes people learned better when they learned in a small group.
So I guess that is why Jesus chose three students for more education.
By the way, do you remember who these three were?
They were James, John, and Peter. (Luke 22: 31)
As you know, sometimes, Jesus invited only these three to observe and learn.
When Jesus was transfigured, only they saw it.
When Jesus said “Talitha Kumi,” and raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead, only they saw it.
Right before his death, when Jesus was praying at the garden of Gethsemane, only they were near him.
Jesus especially asked them to pray with him.
Jesus was teaching them more than others.
Jesus prayed for them.
Jesus was teaching them more and asking them more.
Then later they were supposed to share what they have learned.
They were able to help other students as well.
Jesus knew the effectiveness of a small group.
So Jesus chose a small group of people and focused on teaching God's word to them.
Jesus also understood about his small group of people: their gift, their talent and their character.
Because Jesus understood them very well, he could help them.
Then he answered if they had any questions about his teachings.
He made sure that they understood.
Jesus really tried to help them understand the way of God, as if his first job were to help them to understand.
Jesus understood that when they got the truth, the game is over.
When this small group of people understood his words, they could be multiplied 30, 60, 100 times more.
When God’s word is understood in their hearts, they could make disciples.
They could teach 30, 60, or 100 more students and even more.
Understanding that they could be multiplied and multiplied and multiplied, Jesus focused on teaching a small group of people.
Because Jesus believes in a small group ministry, Jesus didn’t mind teaching a small group of people.
But as you know, during his public ministry, many people followed and observed the ministry of Jesus.
But not everyone of them was his disciples or his apostles.
Jesus chose only 12 students to be his apostles.
Then he empowered them so that they could carry out the ministry of Jesus.
Then Jesus asked them to make disciples of all nations.
You may think like this, even during his public ministry, he focused on helping them.
During his public ministry, he taught them how to heal people.
He taught them how to make disciples of Jesus.
He taught them how to pray.
He taught them how to love.
Then right before ascending to heaven, Jesus told them:
“Now go and make disciples of all nations.
Teach people about what I have taught you.
Teach them to practice everything I have asked you to practice."
Then, Jesus sends them the Holy Spirit so that they may be able to teach other people and make disciples and change the world.
Jesus also continually pray for them and help each person.
Then they notice various opportunities to teach and be taught.
They notice various opportunities to care for people and to be cared.
They notice various opportunities to love and to be loved.
We know that they were able to do what Jesus did.
They made disciples of Jesus.
They knew how to do it because they saw what Jesus has done and because they have been taught by Jesus.
This small group ministry can be very powerful.
Or one to one ministry can be very powerful.
Here is an example:
(2) Let’s say you are a disciple of Jesus.
You receive the Holy Spirit.
And now you learn enough to teach another person.
So you teach one person for about 1 year, something like that.
Then next time, you decide to go and find another person to teach.
Then the person who learn from you also go and share with another person about what he or she learn from Jesus.
When new people have learned enough, you each go and share with another person about what you have learned of Jesus.
So now four of you teach one person for about 1 year.
Let’s say that this process of making disciples went on like this for 10 times.
What will happen?
This will happen:
1 * 2 = 2
2 * 2 = 4
4 * 2 = 8
8 * 2 = 16
16 * 2 = 32
32 * 2 = 64
64 * 2 = 128
128 * 2 = 256
256 * 2 = 512
512 * 2 = 1,024
Then 1024 people have learned to become a disciple of Jesus.
Then because each of them learn from a one-to-one relationship.
They could teach others in a one-to-one relationship.
For those who want to serve many people, this is a very slow process.
Besides, this number is only possible when everyone understood the way of Jesus and be able to live in the power of Holy Spirit.
If someone didn’t understand or didn't want to share with another person, we would have less number.
But then again in a small group, a good education can happen because two people can ask questions and have long conversations.
Also a teacher can understand his or her student much better.
Then a teacher may recognize what Jesus has already helped his or her student to understand.
A teacher may recognize what Jesus is trying to do with that person.
A student may also learn better, as they have various chances to learn from each other.
They can talk about what they have learned so far.
They can encourage each other to follow Jesus.
In this way, they may learn to make disciples together.
They may learn to have a good conversations in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Through those conversations, they may really understand Jesus.
Then when a student learns enough and receives the Holy Spirit, that student could become a teacher and carry out the ministry of Jesus.
But some of you may ask:
“I don't know what I need to teach in a small group.
I have no idea.”
Well, thankfully, the gospel of Matthew was written for those who want to make disciples of all nations.
The gospel of Matthew is like a manual to be used to make disciples.
So simply reading together we may make disciples.
So simply reading through the gospel of Matthew together, we may learn what to practice and what to teach.
In the gospel of Matthew, we find many teachings of Jesus.
To understand, we may ask questions to each other.
We may discuss.
Then we may learn to practice what Jesus has taught us to practice.
In this way, we may learn of Jesus.
In this way we may learn of his ministry.
In this way, we learn to practice what Jesus says.
To understand even more, we may read three other gospels to see their viewpoints.
Then you may be able to see who Jesus really is.
It is very important to know who Jesus really is.
Then we will not make our own disciples.
Jesus is our only shepherd and our only teacher.
So Jesus has to lead us in this.
Jesus has to lead us to learn who Jesus really is.
Jesus has to encourage us to practice what we learn from him.
Jesus has to encourage us to know about Jesus.
Then we may share what we know of Jesus.
Then we may encourage others to live a life of faith.
Then we may pray for them so that they may live a life with Jesus.
Then we may make disciples of Jesus the Christ, as we help them to learn Jesus.
From time to time, I sense that we may need to start this process of making disciples here.
We may learn to help one person at a time.
We pray for that person.
We share with that person what we practice because of Jesus.
But I understand that this may be not easy.
Because we want to learn enough to teach others.
Because we struggle to read the gospel even for ourselves.
Because then we need to practice what Jesus said.
Because then we try to really understand the word of Jesus and practice them.
Because then we need to practice his love in this town and in this world.
So this may not be easy.
I confess that even I don’t like to find a random person in my neighborhood and ask them to read the gospel of Matthew together with me.
So I am thinking and praying about how we can easily do this ministry.
How can we encourage each other?
I am thinking and praying how we may practice what Jesus taught us to do together.
I am thinking and praying how we may be disciples of Jesus together.
I thinking and praying how we may be able to build the Church of Jesus in our own neighborhood and in our own home.
Today Jesus says in the Gospel of Matthew:
““God authorized and commanded me to commission you:
Go and make disciples of all nations.
Teach people about my way of life.
Teach them to practice everything I have asked you to practice."
As we get to know Jesus, as we become disciples of Jesus, as we understand Jesus, we may have various opportunities to make disciples of Jesus.
Then as we share his knowledge, his wisdom, his dream and his hope for this world, we may learn even more.
These words really challenge us:
When we practice what we learn from Jesus, we are disciples of Jesus.
May the Holy Spirit help us in this.
May Jesus help us to really learn what Jesus said and did.
May we really practice what we have learned from him.
May we practice together the teachings of Jesus.
I think that Jesus invites us to be part of this movement.
So I pray that we may understand Jesus.
I pray that then we may share with others.
May we find energy to share with one more person so that people around us may be benefited.
May people get to know who Jesus is and experience his power.
May the Holy Spirit make disciples of Jesus through us.
May the message of Jesus be known and practiced in our own home and neighborhood.
May we together experience Jesus who works through us.
Let’s pray for this kind of movement may appear among us.
Jesus, help us to share what you share with us.
Help us to be bold enough to go and teach others about you.
We pray this in your name.