Are small groups and innovative congregations the new wave of the church? When there is a societal shift those who do not accept the shift are lost in the realignment which follows. That truth follows in politics, business, relationships and, yes, the church.
77% of people in America still call themselves "Christian," yet less than 20% attend a traditional church on a given Sunday. 4000 + churches are closing in America each year. What is wrong? Has God failed? Has the church failed? Has society become so hardened to spirituality that they don't want God?
In short - God hasn't failed! But, has the church failed? The answer is that the true church has not failed, but the institution called "church" has failed. It has failed to keep up with the shift in societal interests, ambitions and fears.
I watch a TV series that each week goes into a failing restaurant and renovates it to hopefully turn it around. Often the motif is 50's and the staff is untrained in how to deal with the customer in the 21st century. What is interesting is that the owners are often resistant to change. They are in love with their building that has worked for them for 40 years and they don't want to change anything.
Have we done the same thing in the church? Have we fallen in love with the building, or the institution, or our denomination and are we fearful of change?
Society is changing and if we are to be a viable force in society today we must be willing to change.
Small groups, meeting in homes and other places that are convenient like coffee shops, motel rooms, libraries, senior centers and anyplace else that can host 3-15 people, are appearing in towns and cities across America. Is this the face of the new church?
Our ministry has an outreach in our town. We call it, "Church in the Park." It started about 1 1/2 years ago with just offering coffee to anyone walking by. Over a few months we added muffins, rolls and donuts as the crowd grew. We started having a devotion based on the Daily God Walk devotional.
At first there were just 3 people attending the devotion, then 5, 8 and 12. Now on a given Sunday we will have 30-40 people attending church in the park. We have baptized 16 this year and have about 5 more ready to be baptized.
We also have a meeting on Sunday morning after church in the park. We call that meeting, "Church in the building." We meet in the local Senior Center for prayer, Bible study and fellowship.
Recently I felt the need to have a Discipleship meeting with our church in the park people so we started a deeper life group in the park on Tuesday morning.
Do you see the pattern? small groups of people gathering for Bible study, worship, prayer and fellowship seems to work.
If you are interested in getting more information on how you can host your own small group ministry, or if you have a story of your own experience in a small group, we would love to hear from you.
Just give us your name and email address in the form below and we will send you the Small Group Report.
Also, visit our Facebook Small Group page. JUST CLICK HERE
Do you have a great story about your experiences in a small group Bible study?Share it with us - and with your friends who will visit this page!