The other day I was listening to a sermon by Chip Ingram in which he compared authentic community to an “ecosystem” (a link to the MP3 can be found at the bottom of this blog entry).

I like this comparison. For years I’ve taught that authentic Christian community is the “environment” or “culture” where people grow best. I used to use a Petri dish as an illustration of the fact that everything needs an environment or culture in which to grow. So do Christians. In the environment of Christian community, Christ followers receive all the nutrients they need to grow spiritually.

I think I like ecosystem better. Ecosystem suggests an interdependence upon one another in the environment, functioning together with each other for the betterment of the whole. It sounds a lot like Paul’s description of the body of Christ.

So I’m going with ecosystem now. And as we well know today, healthy growth only happens in a healthy ecosystem. Interestingly, even ecologists find it difficult to define a healthy ecosystem. (Check out this blog from the EPA, “What Is a Healthy Ecosystem?”)

Over the next several weeks I’ll share my thoughts on what makes a healthy ecosystem in a small group. I’ve already done a bunch of research on this, and I’ll share some of the results of the health assessments our leaders at Northeast Christian took last spring. I think this will help small group leaders to not only understand what makes a group healthy or unhealthy, but to begin to make healthier choices as they lead.

By the way, I’ll be posting at least weekly, so make sure you’re following!

Listen to MP3 of Chip Ingram’s sermon: “Balance Your Ecosystem”

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Michael Mack has led Small Group Leadership full-time since 2012, but has been involved in small group ministry for more than 25 years. He lives in Pewee Valley, Kentucky (just outside Louisville), with his wife Heidi. Their family small group, which includes their four young adult children, has much potential (and much anticipation) for future growth and multiplication. Michael enjoys mountain and road biking with a group of great friends who participate together in various charity rides. See the "About Michael Mack" page under About Us for more about him.

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One Comment

  1. Dan

    November 2, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    This will be a great topic for a blog series. I'll be watching with anticipation!
    Dan Lentz

    Reply

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