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.