Some small groups are, in essence, dead. Many groups died some time ago, but no one realized it. There was never a funeral. No mourning. No burial. The people involved just kept showing up at meetings as if the group was still alive, but all that existed, in reality, was a cold, stiff corpse. These groups meet weekly; they do studies from Bible study guides; they pray for one another’s physical health. But that’s it. Like the Dead Sea, there is no outflow of life from the group. There is no demonstration of Spirit’s power through outreach and evangelism. Many groups go for years in this kind of lack of awareness or denial.
- A living group is growing. People are being transformed and the number of people in the group is expanding.
- A living group is moving. It doesn’t just meet or congregate; it is actively involved in something outside itself.
- A living group has a heartbeat. It has a purpose. It exists to do something other than just feed itself.
- A living group is maturing. It’s not just getting older, it’s developing into what it was created to become.
- A living group is missional. It exists to carry out Christ’s commission.