By Chuck Griffin LifeTalk Editor
Matthew 28:20b (NLT): “And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Having spent most of this week exploring what makes small groups healthy and effective for the Kingdom of God, I thought I would offer a few personal observations this Saturday. Ah, let’s just go ahead and say it—these are Chuck’s opinions, whatever they are worth.
I am convinced that small groups are critical to Christianity in America. Without another “Great Awakening,” we will continue to see churches shrink and die as our older members pass away. The remaining Christians will be a small-but-serious bunch, many of them grouped in house churches no larger than what I’ve been describing these past few days.
If there is another American Great Awakening—an event we should pray for and work toward—it likely will be built around vibrant small groups. The small group structure has historically been a part of explosive growth in the church, and there’s no reason to believe that important structural feature will go away.
So, one way or another, small groups will be the defining characteristic of the American church future, whether Christianity proves to be an integral part of our culture or a remnant of what used to be.
I don’t think for a minute that Christianity will depart from this earth. Belief in Christ is spreading like wildfire in other parts of the world. I would, however, like to think that my own culture will continue to participate in the kingdom in a lively way, rather than becoming a secularized dead zone.
It also would be sad if the particular strain of Christianity known as Methodism continues in its widespread failure to embrace the system of small groups that once made the movement so effective.
So, I leave you with an invitation. If you’re called to be in a small group, or perhaps even lead one, let me know. We will make that happen, whether you are a part of the local church I serve or somewhere else.
Lord, may a new fire be ignited in your American church, and please don’t forget your Methodist children as it happens. Amen.