Small Groups and Church Growth - Just Hype?
Why all the hype about small groups in the articles on church growth? (Once called cell groups, they’re now usually called small groups.)
Is it just a mega church thing? What does it have to do with your ministry if you are not pastoring a mega church?
It’s about connection and transformation!
Author and Wheaton College Professor Ed Stetzer identified 3 functions of a small group: a connection function, a formation function, and a missions function. (Stetzer 2015)
Research indicates that healthy churches emphasize two things: Bible reading and small groups. (Rainer 2016)
An emphasis on Bible reading makes intuitive sense, right? Church growth requires spiritual transformation and discipleship. Bible reading takes a central role in those processes.
Then, there is an emphasis on small groups. The New Testament church pattern supports the idea of using small groups for fostering personal connection and spiritual growth:
Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart (Acts 2:46, NAS).
It doesn’t really matter whSat form your small groups take as long as they are meeting a need and growing. From Sunday school to AA and everything in between, small groups meet two basic needs: the hunger for deeper connection with others and deeper transformation through application of spiritual principles.
My own perspective as a Psychologist and trainer in emotionally intelligent leadership: ministry requires people connecting with people. Small groups can facilitate both the human and divine connections that we all crave so deeply.
That’s why small groups matter!
So, what opportunities exist in your church to use small groups to create more connections and promote personal transformation?
Rainer, Tom S. "2 Common Diligent Practices among Healthy Churches." Ministry Today. November 3, 2016. http://ministrytodaymag.com/leadership/vision/23281-2-common-diligent-practices-among-healthy-churches (accessed February 20, 2017).
Stetzer, Ed. "Community Matters: The Importance of Transformational Small Groups." Christianity Today: The Exchange a Blog by Ed Stetzer. September 23, 2015. http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2015/september/community-matters-importance-of-transformational-small-grou.html (accessed Febuary 20, 2017).