Who’s in Your Inner Circle?

Ghirlandaio,_Domenico_-_Calling_of_the_Apostles_-_1481Jesus taught in front of thousands of people throughout his lifetime. Wherever he went, huge crowds followed him (Mark 5:24, Mark 10:1, Matthew 4:25, Matthew 8:1, Matthew 14:13).

But not everyone that Jesus taught continued to follow him. Not everyone that followed him became his disciple. And even within his disciples, Jesus had an inner circle—the ones he invested in the most (Mark 9:2–3).

In The Master Plan of Evangelism, Robert E. Coleman examines Jesus’ strategy:

Jesus was not trying to impress the crowd, but to usher in a kingdom. This meant that he needed people who could lead the multitudes. What good would it have been for his ultimate objective to arouse the masses to follow him if these people had no subsequent supervision or instruction in the Way? It had been demonstrated on numerous occasions that the crowd was an easy prey to false gods when left without proper care. . . .Thus, before the world could ever be permanently helped, people would have to be raised up who could lead the multitudes in the things of God.

As humans, we can’t invest the same amount of energy into our entire church that we invest into our small groups, families, mentors, or disciples. That doesn’t mean we neglect our church, it just means that the way we pour into the 100, 1,000, or 10,000 people that we learn and grow alongside looks very different than the way we pour into those who are closest to us.

Our lives naturally imitate Jesus’ circles of intimacy, because we are physical beings bound by physical constraints—we don’t have all the time in the world, and we can’t be everywhere at once.

We choose who to spend the most time with and who we invest most of our lives into.

Your virtual inner circle

Faithlife Groups are designed to imitate our real-life church structure. Within your church’s group, you can add subgroups, like your small group, your ministry team, or your accountability partners.

In each of these groups, the things you share and the ways you pray for and support each other look completely different. The larger your church, the more important these intimacy circles become.

With the ability to nest Faithlife Groups within larger groups, they’re kind of like Matryoshka dolls:

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Within a single church, there could be dozens of smaller groups of people that meet and share life together. Faithlife Groups lets you keep all of those groups under the umbrella of your church.

Small groups and ministry teams can share prayer lists, curriculum, discussions, and announcements in privacy, while your church as a whole can share entirely separate prayer lists, discussions, newsletters, Community Notes, and more.

Faithlife Groups are just one more way you can keep church from feeling like a building and extend your relationships beyond weekly handshakes.

Talk to your church about using Faithlife Groups—the free church communication tool.


  1. David McNamara says

    An interesting discussion would be how to prevent your faithlife group from becoming a clique in the negative sense of exclusivity

  2. says

    That’s a great thought, David. Privacy is important, but in some groups, that privacy should be extended to new members (like a small group or church). A church, for example, should have different privacy settings than a family. You can make Faithlife Groups completely open, so people can just click to join, or completely private, so other people can't even see your group and they have to be invited.

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