Rethinking Our Small Group Model

What is “authentic biblical community”?

It’s within the environment of authentic biblical community that disciples are made and we live out our faith. But what does that look like for us today? Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about what a model for discipleship should look like today, and truthfully, I have more questions than answers. I began writing about this last week in my blog I titled “What If Everything We’ve Always Believed About Small Groups Was Wrong?”

It seems others are thinking about this as well. Alan Danielson blogged about the “First Small Group Gathering Ever.” I love the way he poses this:

What is your small group doing to have an exploding reputation in the community? Are you meeting safely inside a home or church building, insulated from the rest of the world? Or are you doing life together in public, so that evangelistic ministry opportunities can be seized? Does your small group look look like Jesus’ small group, or does it look like something different? I’m just asking.

Hmm. I wonder, Is it even possible in today’s culture for our small groups to look like Jesus’ small group? If you say no, why not, and then what should they look like? If you say yes, then how?

I’ve read other blogs dealing with the same questions Alan and I are asking, and I’ll share some of those in a future post. But I want to keep asking and thinking about this and I’d love to hear some of your thoughts, so please respond!

Author: Michael Mack

Michael Mack has been involved in small group ministry as a pastor, writer, trainer, and speaker for more than 25 years. He founded in 1995 and started Small Group Leadership in 2012. He became the 12th editor of Christian Standard magazine in 2017 and continues to speak in churches about small groups, discipleship, and leadership. He lives in Pewee Valley, Kentucky (just outside Louisville), with his wife Heidi. They have four young adult children. Michael enjoys mountain and road biking with a group of friends. See the "About Michael Mack" page under About Us for more about him.

3 thoughts on “Rethinking Our Small Group Model”

  1. Thanks Mike.

    If Jesus' group were meeting in America today I think they'd meet in restaurants, bars, coffee shops, hospitals, with the homeless, and in public schools. I think it's very possible for our groups to look more like that.

    Meeting in homes and churches would be the exception for Jesus and his group.

  2. I don't know, Alan and Michael. I don't think that meeting in homes would be the exception. Rather, I think that meeting in homes would be one place of many that believers would have met in Jesus' day. And the same should be/could be said of small groups today.

    It's not wrong for a group to meet in a home. But maybe we should encourage our groups to meet beyond just the once/week in a home…and sometimes have meetings in more public places.

    But, to be honest with you, I'd feel awkward if I walked up on a small group meeting of another religion. To me, it would seem kind of showy. Like the only reason they were meeting in that coffee shop (for example) was so that others would see them meeting.

    Just trying to be honest and transparent.

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