A big part of this is mini-groups. I love small groups and I also love mini-groups. What is a mini-group? It’s two to four guys or two to four gals meeting together and holding each other accountable, praying for each other and encouraging each other.
Right now I meet with two other guys over lunch each Thursday. (One of them is in my small group, the other is someone else I want to invest in.) We all pack lunches and meet in one of the guys’ offices that is central to the three of us. It’s cheap, convenient, and private enough to let ministry flow. In the past I have met guys for breakfast at McDonald’s or even late at night after our little kids were in bed.
In small groups we get personal, but in mini-groups we can get even more intimate and say what is really going on in our lives. I like having three or four guys rather than just two. There is more strength and wisdom, and the group can meet even if one of us misses.
We always ask each other when we start, “What do you need for us to ask you every week?” Different guys need different questions. Are you taking time with God? Are you looking at internet pornography? Are you taking time with your wife and kids? Are you working on your doctoral dissertation?
We meet for a set amount of time. “Let’s try this for two months.” Then we adjust and recommit. Others can join us if they are really wanting to grow and willing for others to be honest with them and direct. If they don’t really want to be held accountable it ruins things. Don’t do mini-group with people who don’t genuinely want to grow.
If I am meeting with new Christians I use the booklet that Ralph Neighbour and I wrote called Beginning the Journey. If not it’s less structured.
I use our church’s recommended questions, though we don’t use all the questions every week. We each have these on a business-sized card in our wallets.
What has been the best part of your week? the hardest?
Did you read your Bible and pray daily?
Have you prayed for and served your unchurched friends?
Have you made progress on your personal goals?
What known sins have you committed?
Are you keeping any secrets (from us or from loved ones)?
What would you like prayer for?
Do you encourage mini-groups in your small group? What have you learned about these accountability groups? What questions do you have?