...or small groups redefined.
I want to propose a two purpose of these small communities of grace:
- communities of discipleship
- communities of joy in God
I get those things from Phil 1:25-26 where Paul says “I want to continue with you for your progress [that’s the discipleship bit] and for your joy in the Lord, so that on account of my being with you your joy in Jesus Christ will overflow on account of me.”
He prayed something very similar for them at the start of the letter in 1:9 – I pray that your love may abound in knowledge and depth of insight. Love abounding in knowledge and insight. Wisdom-fuelled joy.
He says something similar agin in 2 Cor 1:24 – we don’t Lord it over your faith but we work with you for your joy, for it is by faith that you stand firm. The interesting thing there is the connection between joy and faith. We work with you for your joy assumes that joy in God intimately works out in faith that stands firm in trials.
Or Colossians 2:6: just as you received Christ, so walk in him, being both rooted and built up, established in faith, abounding in thanksgiving.
Is that how your home group or student small group sees itself – a walking with Christ group, abounding in thanksgiving?
I know some churches and CUs that call their small groups Growth Groups. I think that’s a good name. But what they do depends on what you think growth is and how it happens. This is my definition of growth and Paul’s definition of growth – progress in the Lord and joy in the Lord. Love abounding in wisdom. Walking with Christ, abounding in thanksgiving, Christ being formed in us.
Question: what elements would be different in Barnabas training for leading communities of discipleship and joy as opposed to Bible study leader training? What would "Spurring each other on to love and good deeds training" look like?
That’s what you are about if you are leading a community of discipleship and joy. You are a barnabas-strategist for establishing people in faith, so that they overflow with joy and thankfulness, are stirred up to love and good deeds, imitating Christ, abounding in thanksgiving.