Sunday, 1 November 2009

7 reasons why preaching is not enough

John Piper recently addressed his small group leaders on the essential nature of what they do:

Last Sunday when I met with the small group leaders I tried to show them how essential their role is at this church by giving them seven reasons my preaching is not enough—seven reasons why perseverance in faith and growth in faith call for Christians to meet regularly in a face-to-face way to “serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10). God intends to do things in you which he will only do through the ministry of other believers.

7 Reasons We Need Small Groups - He has given pastors to the church “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (
Ephesians 4:11-12). I believe in what I do. And I believe that it is not enough. Here are the seven reasons I gave the small group leaders.

1) The impulse to avoid painful growth by disappearing safely into the crowd in corporate worship is very strong.

2)The tendency toward passivity in listening to a sermon is part of our human weakness.

3) Listeners in a big group can more easily evade redemptive crises. If tears well up in your eyes in a small group, wise friends will gently find out why. But in a large gathering, you can just walk away from it.

4) Listeners in a large group tend to neglect efforts of personal application. The sermon may touch a nerve of conviction, but without someone to press in, it can easily be avoided.

5) Opportunity for questions leading to growth is missing. Sermons are not dialogue. Nor should they be. But asking questions is a key to understanding and growth. Small groups are great occasions for this.

6) Accountability for follow-through on good resolves is missing. But if someone knows what you intended to do, the resolve is stronger.

7) Prayer support for a specific need or conviction or resolve goes wanting. O how many blessings we do not have because we are not surrounded by a band of friends who pray for us.


Dan Rodger said...

'Sermons are not dialogue.'

Well not today obviously but if we are meant to me imitators of Jesus how come we don't preach like Jesus? He always seemed to have time to discuss, listen to questions from his audience so why shouldn't todays modern preachers do the same?

Aren't today's sermons more of a method that came hundreds of years later?

I'm not saying people shouldn't preach as they do but surely it's wrong to assume that 'sermons are not dialogue'? Why shouldn't we have dialogue within a service?

Great post though :P

Kevin Gill said...

Thank you Sean, this is really helpful. I value small groups so much and appreciate this help to articulate why they matter. Keep posting!