Home Small Group Leaders Articles for Small Group Leaders Community Matters: The Role of Transformational Groups in the Church

Community Matters: The Role of Transformational Groups in the Church

This is the first in a series of blog posts in which we are considering the relationship between the church’s practice of community and transformational small groups.

In a world that is pushing against community, the church must pursue authentic community.

Community matters.

There are few things in which the church can be more countercultural than in the way it practices community. There are few things in which the church can manifest its missional nature more than in the way it pursues community.

Community matters.

It’s a biblical non-negotiable. Transformation is not an individual task. No Christian is an island. The model Jesus gave us for disciple making is one of shared experience and learning in community. Christ did life together with his disciples, and he expects us to undergo life transformation as a community.

Community matters.

Churches that are serious about developing and cultivating authentic community are going to have congregations that are involved in transformational small groups. There’s no getting around the fact that any church that wants to make an impact on its people and a difference in its neighborhood will pursue and cultivate small groups.

Transformational Groups Matter

Transformational groups matter. Small-group ministry is essential to the health of any church. These small groups take a variety of forms: cell groups, Bible studies, life groups, Bible fellowships, discipleship classes, home groups, Sunday school classes and other gatherings that promote relationships within the community.

The question is: What’s the primary reason for having small groups? It’s important to note that all groups have three purposes:

All groups have a connecting function.

All groups have a formation function.

All groups have a mission function.

Depending on the makeup of your congregation, your overall discipleship plan and/or your small group strategy, you’ll find that one function will become predominant over the others. And that’s OK. You can actually structure accordingly to accomplish all three functions.
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Ed Stetzer, Ph.D., is a professor and dean at Wheaton College where he also serves as Executive Director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center. He has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches; trained pastors and church planters on six continents; earned two master’s degrees and two doctorates; and he has written hundreds of articles and a dozen books. He is Regional Director for Lausanne North America, is the Editor-in-Chief of Outreach Magazine, and regularly writes for news outlets such as USA Today and CNN. His national radio show, Ed Stetzer Live, airs Saturdays on Moody Radio and affiliates. He serves at his local church, Highpoint Church, as a teaching pastor. Dr. Stetzer is currently living in England and teaching at Oxford University.