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I recently read The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. At various points in the narrative, he mentions Junto, the group of men he met with weekly for the purposes of “mutual improvement.”

Franklin made his small group a priorityMr. Franklin writes, “Every member, in his turn, should produce one or more queries on any point of Morals, Politics, or Natural Philosophy, to be discuss’d by the company; and once in three months produce and read an essay of his own writing, on any subject he pleased. Our debates were . . . conducted in the sincere spirit of inquiry after truth.”

These days, we’d say Benjamin Franklin was part of a small group. Can you imagine? The man who was busy with printing and writing and experimenting, government and diplomacy on multiple levels, military leadership for a time, not to mention supporting his own family. Busy.

Yet he made his small group a priority. What about you?

God’s Intention for You: A Small Group

We have to want more. To get involved in the cause Jesus started … the cause of redemption. We have to become others-focused. To start thinking outside our own little world and ask God: ‘How can I help? ~Regi Campbell, Mentor Like Jesus: His Radical Approach to Building the Church

In his book Multiply, Francis Chan says, “Making disciples is far more than a program. It is the mission of our lives. It defines us. A disciple is a disciple maker…. Following Jesus means that you will be teaching other people to follow Jesus” (p. 31, 35).

Jesus said in Matthew 5, You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same You are the light of the world.way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father (verses 14–15, NLT).

But the World Doesn’t Want Jesus

What does this mean in our modern era of people who are easily offended and hostile to the truth of the Bible? Francis Chan says a bit later in his book, “We live in the midst of a threatening environment, but we are more like a lighthouse than a bomb shelter. We are not called to hide from trouble but to guide others through it” (p. 66).

The world wants us to keep our mouths shut and live quietly apart from them. But “part of what the church of God (as the people of God) must do is show a better way” (Transformational Groups by Ed Stetzer and Eric Geiger, p. 2). That seems an insurmountable task. Pressures weigh on us and issues divide us. But, what if it didn’t have to be that way? What if history proves the church can do more than we currently are?

Small groups can make the government irrelevant

Regi Campbell wrote in his book Mentor Like Jesus, “About 350 years after Christ, the Roman emperor Julian (AD 332–363) wanted to reinstitute faithfulness to the pagan religions of Rome but struggled because Christians were doing such good things for people, even strangers, that they rendered the Roman gods irrelevant.”

Can you picture it? What if your obedience is all that is required to make our modern pagan gods irrelevant to your next-door neighbor or the family who sits behind you at church? We should also consider it from the opposite side. What if your disobedience reinforces our modern pagan gods?

Authors Alex McFarland and Jason Jimenez wrote in Abandoned Faith, “A life well lived according to the will of God, a life that loves neighbor as self, is what attracts those seeking a better way.” The apostle Paul wrote it this way: I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be Ephesians 4.1patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace (Ephesians 4:1–3).

FINAL THOUGHTS

What dream fuels you, gets you out of bed every morning? Where do you hope to be in twenty or thirty or forty years? Now consider this: Does your dream line up with God’s? ~Carrie Daws, Mentoring for Life

Who would Benjamin Franklin have been without these men of Junto who challenged him, his thinking, and his arguments every Friday night?

Their group was so successful over the years, that five or six of the regular men started their own second groups. Franklin writes, “They were useful to themselves, and afforded us a god deal of amusement, information, and instruction, besides answering, in some considerable degree, our views of influencing the public opinion on particular occasions.”

We’d say they multiplied and continued passing on what they’d learned. Let your mind wander with the possibilities of what God can do with your life completely surrendered to Him. As Dwight Moody said, “No matter how weak you are, God can use you, and you do not know what a stream of salvation you may set in motion.”

 

Read More

I created Mentoring for Life as a curriculum for churches to help small groups grow into mentoring groups. I am now making this available online, FOR FREE. Yes, completely, totally free. I’d appreciate it if you don’t abuse my generosity, abide by good manners and the copyright laws by leaving my name on it and giving me credit for writing and sharing the material with you. Feel free to share this with friends and your church leadership.

Mentoring for Life: Practical Training for Making a Bigger Difference in the World around You

Want to take your small group deeper, learn how to become mentors that build and expand the Church? I wrote this 14-week curriculum to do specifically that!

The reading each week is short and the questions designed to encourage prayer and contemplation about what God is asking of each individual. Additional reading and resources are listed at the end of the study for those who want to learn even more.

Formatted in black and white only for 8.5″ x 11″ pages, front and back for easy, cost-friendly printing.

 

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