Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Not a new idea

Small groups are definitely not a new idea. Jesus led a group of 12. The first Christians met in small groups in homes (Acts 2). John Wesley saw the value of groups nearly 300 years ago. They all understood that people need community. The same is true today.
It seems clear that true and deep life change will happen best in the context of a small group of like-minded Christians who will encourage one another, as well as emphasizing accountability. Not only that, I believe that best avenue for reaching the pre-Christians in our communities is through just such a small group. This means that the group must balance some things.
  • The group must be non-threatening, even as it is rigorous in its expectations and accountability. Accountability can never be used as a weapon or a tool for judgment. It must be used to encourage and love all members.
  • The group must be focused on the spiritual growth and development of each member, even as it seeks to include new members.
  • The group must be social in nature, even as it tries to ensure that all meetings are filled with content.
  • The group must be informal, even as it makes sure that it includes the basic elements of its existence.
  • The group must have a leader, even as it seeks the equality of all members.
  • The group must have a design and a direction, even as it allows its members to discern where God is leading them.
  • The group must be a part of the church, even as it becomes its own 'mini-church'.

This is not a new idea. But perhaps moving the small group outside the church will bring about new results.

No comments: