I think it is an unfortunate thing that you are called a teacher. Since you are called a teacher, you might have the idea that your job is to teach. I have never talked to a Pastor or Small Group Minister anywhere that felt that the sole job of a teacher was to teach.
You are a shepherd. You are a coach. You are a mentor. You are a friend. You are the pastor of a microcosm of the church.
Your job is not to just deliver information, you are to pray for, care about, visit in the hospital, remember birthdays, hug the babies, and love the people. You are to take on the attitude that Paul had toward the Thessalonians:
- But we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.
- For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, 1 Thes. 2:7–8, 11 [NIV]
What is a group, anyway?
- The church exists on several levels:
- World-wide invisible church where Billy Graham and James Dobson serve on staff
- Local church
- Micro-church. This is a small group or Sunday School class.
In the New Testament we read where the church met in temple courts and from house to house (Acts 5:42). We tend to focus on the geography—where they met—but I want us to focus on the type of group. These were small groups and large groups and the church needs both.
Notice it was the church that met house to house. I read in my quiet time this morning about “Nympha and the church in her house.” Col. 4:15 [NIV] Again, don’t focus on where they met. Note that this was the church. This was not a group of people from the church. It was not an organization of the church. It was the church.
We commonly see a different perspective from this today as we hear people say, “Are you going to Sunday School today, or just church?” Do you hear what the question is implying? The worship service is church. Sunday School, well, that is optional. This is not the New Testament perspective.
It would be more biblical to say, “Are you going to big church today or little church or both? Are you going to all of church or part of church?” Church is when we meet in small groups.
I would argue that most of what it means to really be the church—most of the one another stuff happens in, through and around small groups. Most of the loving one another, serving one another, bearing with one another and so forth happens in the micro-church, not at the congregational level.
At the micro-church level, you are the pastor
Just as your pastor spends part of his time in content preparation and delivery, you need to spend part of your time in content preparation and delivery. But, that is not all you are called to do. You are called to pastor that micro-church. You are called to make the group of people into a microcosm of the church.
The heart of a teacher, then, is the heart of a pastor.
Josh Hunt, How to Use Questions to Stimulate Life-Changing Discussions, Good Questions Have Small Groups Talking (Las Cruces, NM: Josh Hunt, 2010), 125–126.