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Startling Statistics and Your Small Group II…Universalism in Your Small Group?!

Yesterday was the first in a series of blog posts that springboard from startling statistics I found as I was reading Brad Waggoner’s book, The Shape of Faith to Come. Just to remind you… This work is based on research, not just someone’s perception of what might be. Brad’s research included a sampling of 2500 Protestants who consider themselves regular church attenders. Attendance was determined as at least attending one worship service per month. This means that it is very possible that a majority of those polled are attending a Sunday School class or small group.
The second startling statistic that caught my eye was under the heading “Is Jesus the Only Way?” The question respondents were asked was…
How much do you agree/disagree: If a person is sincerely seeking God, he/she can obtain eternal life through religions other than Christianity? 
Only 32% of the sample “disagreed strongly.”
Another 8% disagreed somewhat.
If your group is representative of the Christian community polled, this means that you are apt to have someone or multiple people in your group who, if they were honest about what is in their hearts, believe that Buddhist ideology or Muslim thought, etc…, if an individual is sincerely seeking God, will be reconciled to God through other means than the gospel of Jesus Christ.
It is vital that you journey with your group into the uniqueness and exclusivity of Christ. I hope you noticed that I didn’t say the uniqueness and exclusivity of Christianity. In many people’s minds Christianity is just another subgroup of religious types, not a community of people bound together by the transformational power of the cross. But it seems almost anyone respects the life of and sacrifice of Christ. Tell them what He said about Himself. Tell them what the Scriptures says about Jesus from Genesis to Revelation.
Jesus wasn’t hesitant to announce,  “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) We need to be certain every group member is aware of this fact. If we don’t the deceiver may well deceive them all the way to eternal damnation. This is a strong statement for sure. It’s also true.
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Rick has one passion… To see “a biblical small group within walking distance of every person on the planet making disciples that make disciples.” He is presently pursuing this passion as the Small Group and Discipleship Specialist at LifeWay Church Resources. Rick has authored or co-authored multiple books, studies, and leader training resources including A Different Kind of Tribe: Embracing the New Small Group Dynamic, Destination Community: Small Group Ministry Manual, The Gospel and the Truth: Living the Message of Jesus, Small Group Life Ministry Manual: A New Approach to Small Groups, Redeeming the Tears: a Journey Through Grief and Loss, Small Group Life: Kingdom, Small Group Kickoff Retreat: Experiential Training for Small Group Leaders, and Great Beginnings: Your First Small Group Study, Disciples Path: A Practical Guide to Disciple Making. Rick’s varied ministry experiences as an collegiate minister, small group pastor, teaching pastor, elder, full-time trainer and church consultant, as well as having been a successful church planter gives him a perspective of church life that is all-encompassing and multi-dimensional. Rick is a highly sought after communicator and trainer.