Radiant Bible Church of Avon is successfully encouraging deep, life-giving relationships in the congregation. In 2020, the church began to build a culture of care within the church through mutual ministry. Leaders wanted to engage 80% of the church to care for the 20% most in need.
Deep Connection Through Small Groups
They based this initiative on the belief that small groups are the most effective way to accomplish their mission of making disciples through meaningful relationships. Eighty percent of their regularly attending adults are currently in a small group. More than ever, COVID-19 reinforced the necessity and value of significant relationships and deep connection.
While many churches experienced decrease in their numbers during 2020, this non-denominational church saw growth in numbers. Small groups have been instrumental in helping new people connect into the life and ministry of the church.
“It's been over a year, and my small group coaches still talk about our coaches retreat and how this was such an amazing weekend together,” reported Eric Carlson, pastor of small groups. “I met with all the small group coaches last night at a coach’s home and was asked when our next retreat will be. Honestly, I have been asked this question a dozen times because this was so meaningful to our coaches.” In addition to building relationships, the retreat produced an outline for core topics: Our Ministry Values, Qualifications for Small Group Leaders, Expectations for Small Group Leaders and the Role of a Small Group Coach. These four topics are now in the final revisions of a forthcoming book, Radiant Groups: A Blueprint for Small Groups.
Getting Everyone Involved
The leadership team learned that their members love using their gifts for the common good. Traditionally, the church relied on paid staff for projects, however “when we involve the church body, we are waking the sleeping giant and this ignites a passion in people,” explained Carlson. They also learned that small groups tend to be inward focused, excelling in the care of those within the group. They are now encouraging a focus on “equipping and sending” to move the church forward as they seek to prepare disciple-makers.