PEOPLE LOVE SMALL GROUPS! We all started from a small group!
In just a few days, I will officiate a ceremony for my oldest son to become a husband to an amazing young lady. We could not be more excited.
Honestly, it feels like just yesterday that I stood by Kim, (my gloriously beautiful bride), and we said, “I do,” at the front of a crowded room. What seems like yesterday in my memories actually happened about 27 years ago. Today, there are 4 Diglets, (Kindig kids), 3 boys and 1 princess, (emphasis intentional). In 1987, there were only two of us, now there are 6 of us. Within a handful of years there will be multiple other weddings and then the arrival of perfect little Dig-Digs. (Kindig Grandkids). Family seems to have naturally multiplied in blessing and complexity with powerful consistency over the years.
Family starts small and grows slow, but family is incredibly resilient. In the same 27 years since Kim and I were married, there have been wars and rumors of wars. The Braves won a World Series. We have watched world shaking earthquakes, tsunamis, and catastrophic storms change the landscape of the planet. Al Gore invented the internet. As you read this, you all carry a revolution in your pocket, (smart phones that behave as a stereo, a multi-media center, and a phone that connects you to the world via satellite), because of people named Gates and Jobs. In the span of the last 3 decades, there has been revolutionary change in our world.
In the midst of these monumental shifts in our culture, everyone wants to be a part of a thriving, healthy family. This reality was, and always will be a game-changer for the church. At the end of Acts 2, we see a routine practice of the early church was that they met not only in the temple, but also in SMALL GROUPS. They did not have fancy buildings, so they just met in their homes.
Acts 5:42 states is this way, “Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.”
The word translated as HOUSE really means household or extended family. The Greek word for HOUSE is OIKOS, and it refers to the people who are under the influence of this household. Some are blood relatives. Others are people who feel like family, but they have different last names. OIKOS is a qualitative word intimating the closeness of a FAMILY! We need SMALL GROUPS, because we need that sense of FAMILY in our churches. It is hard to get that in groups of a hundred, hundreds or thousands.
At Christmas a couple of years back, we realized that we could no longer fit all 5 generations of one side of our family in anyone’s home. Practically, we have had to retrofit our family reunions. It made me reflect on how Kim and I started as two of us, but in just a few more decades, we won’t be able to fit all of our extended family in a house.
Christianity, as a movement, started with 13 guys who hung out all they could over a span of 3 years. According to Rodney Stark in his phenomenal work, The Triumph of Christianity, within 3 centuries, Christianity grew to over 50% of the world population. It did that through the primary vehicle of SMALL GROUPS behaving as Families on Mission carrying out the Father’s business on planet earth.
I think we ALL need to get involved in something SMALL! That something is SMALL GROUPS that feel like FAMILIES on MISSION! As we do, and as we do it well, maybe we could see the results of the early church revisited in our day.