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Small Group Craze vs. Biblical Community


Acts 2:42-47 tells us about the relationships in the first church: “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

Jesus says in Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you: and you will use this power to minister to one another, develop deeper community and keep it to yourselves.” No! He says “…and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

With great sincerity some have said: “We cannot reach out to others. We are just getting to know one another. Our group is starting to jell and become a family.”

C.T. Stud, a famous missionary to Africa, once said, “I do not wish to live ’neath sound of church or chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell.” Does this describe your group? Is your cell group a rescue shop for your friends, family and others who are living a life of hell and are headed there for eternity?

Many groups claim to have deep relational bonds but miss the opportunity to run a rescue mission for the lost. Biblical relationships are fostered in a rescue shop. Jesus calls His disciples to lose their lives in order to gain it. Acts tells us how ordinary people took the message beyond Jerusalem to Samaria and to the uttermost parts of the earth. Biblical relationships have a purpose: to rescue the captives.

One of my best friends is Quan Hoang, my first cell leader. We prayed, praised and fasted together. We ministered to our cell members and stuck together through success and failure. We reached out to seeking friends and grew our group together. We fought together in the trenches. While walking in our purpose, we created a deep friendship.

You and your group are in the middle of a war. Your cell group is an army unit. When you wage war against the enemy to rescue the captives, you build bonds with your “army buddies.” You learn to love one another in weakness, to fight together, to depend on each other. You discover the purpose of biblical friendships.

When you combine the element of being “army buddies” in the battle with the movement of the Spirit amid the group and the hospitality of family, your group will shine. People will gaze in wonder at your love for one another. Your life together will be real and much more than a weekly meeting in homes. You will have something worth their time and energy.

In the New Testament world, Aquila gave his home church much more than a house. He gave them experiences where they could encounter God and one another. Our world searches for this same kind of experience. Our call is to give it to them. There we will discover biblical relationships.  

Small Group Craze vs. Biblical Community