Thursday, August 9, 2012 4:47 AM

The Future of Small Groups?

Thursday, August 9, 2012 4:47 AM
Thursday, August 9, 2012 4:47 AM

Sunday school was renamed small groups. Small groups have been in the process of defining their focus in the Christian life. Will they become Sunday school, fellowship peer groups, or social gathering with or without evangelism? Here is a quote that gives the contemporary history of the Christian walk outside of congregational worship and evangelism.

“Twentieth-century evangelicalism failed to develop any patterns of ministry that integrated the various disciplines of Christian formation into a coherent whole. Instead, it developed parachurch movements that sought to fill the void left by the traditional church.

These movements range from children, youth, and college ministries to business groups, prayer walks, men’s or women’s groups such as Promise Keepers or the small group movement, as well as small- and large-scale evangelistic rallies. These parachurch movements all supplemented the ministries of the church, which continued to offer various programs for children, youth, men, women, singles, and married people.

Consequently, evangelical Christianity has been characterized by many movements—some that evangelize, others that disciple, still others that seek to provide spiritual awakening, commitment, and social action. Yet there has been a noticeable lack of any attempt to put into place a process that brings all these elements together in the ministry of the local church. The hunger for unitive ministries of Christian formation is now beginning to emerge, as seen in the small group movement of many churches. These small groups, however, are not yet fully integrated with Christian formation.”[1]


[1] Webber, R. (2003). Ancient-future evangelism: Making your church a faith-forming community (33–34). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

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