Some churches call their small groups that meet in homes “Community Groups.” I like that name for two important reasons: (1) the name reveals where authentic Christian community takes place and (2) it indicates that these groups are a primary vehicle for the church reaching into its community.

Small groups are (or at least should be) places where friends are made and grown, where the New Testament one anothers are lived out. They are environments where intimacy and trust and accountability grow. They are the body of Christ in action.

They are also an essential way for the church to reach into the community, as each person and group reached its oikos – the Greek term meaning household with an applied meaning of a person’s or group’s web of relationships or sphere of influence. 

In fact, I believe these kinds of groups are far more than just a “vehicle” for “First Church of Anywhere” to use to carry out its mission. These missional groups are the church, as the Bible defines it. Like the New Testament churches that met in homes (see Acts 8:3; Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:19; Colossians 4:15; Philemon 2), these churches work together within the larger church (1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Revelation 1:11, for example) to build God’s Kingdom.

Healthy, missional, Christ-centered small groups carry out Christ’s commission for his church: to go into the world around us and make disciples, baptizing them, assimilating them into Christ’s body – both spiritually and relationally – and teaching them to obey everything Christ has commanded us. 

MORE ON THIS SUBJECT:

How Your Small Group Can (Must) Partner with God
Reconciliation: the Heart of Small Groups
Healthy small group leaders are friends with non-Christ-followers
Leading from the Heart, Chapter 7: “A Heart of Reconciliation”

Small Group Vital Signs, Vital Sign #6: “A Healthy Group Ministers to Others”

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Michael Mack has been involved in small group ministry as a pastor, writer, trainer, and speaker for more than 25 years. He founded SmallGroups.com 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.

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