In understanding the need for community groups (interchangeably called small groups or home groups), it's important to realize that 100 years ago, people lived their lives with one another differently than we do today. Most people worked and played together and met as friends and neighbors on days other than Sunday. However, because our populations are consolidating into larger cities, distance separates members of local churches. In addition, multiple services can cut across church connections and the churches themselves are growing in overall size. Therefore, it has become necessary that Christians meet together in community groups to grow and find support with fellow believers. And it's also becoming a place for Christians to share their faith with nonbelievers who might not otherwise feel comfortable in a larger group setting within a church building.
What is a community group?
Here's my stab and defining a community group: A community group is a smaller unit of people—generally from within the local church body—that intentionally meet to sit under the authority of God’s Word in order to grow as disciples by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, through open, shared, and genuine relationships with one another.
While this definition works broadly across the Church, no two local churches will have the same community groups; and in fact, not even two community groups will be alike. This is because God’s people are a family, not a computer or corporate franchise. Relationships between one another grow strong families; whereas, computers and corporations are systems that are built so people can be “plugged in” to them. The Church is like a big extended family and the community group works like an immediate family unit. This is the model for community groups.
What do healthy family community groups look like?
I can honestly say that I have no idea how to successfully measure and qualify the health of community groups. I don’t think it can be done. We can measure the total number of groups, attendance, growth rates, and frequency of meetings, but these things do not fully demonstrate the health of the group, its spiritual growth, its submissiveness to the Word of God and Holy Spirit’s guidance, or its unity within the body of Christ. I believe we will know when we have it right and the Holy Spirit will prompt us when we need to make adjustments.
If you're thinking about starting a small group in your home or if you're church is looking at starting a small group ministry, jump in. There is no one way or basic program. Every small group is different, but the only way you'll know what your group should look like is to start praying about it with others and start meeting. It's just that simple.
If you're interested in getting involved in a small group or starting one and you'd like to chat with me about it, please don't hesitate to contact me. If you don't have my contact info, feel free to contact me with this form.
*Photo by Lil Larkie is registered under a creative commons license.