One of the great strengths of Methodism in its early days was the class meeting. The deed of union states ‘“The weekly class meeting has from the beginning proved to be the most effective means of maintaining among Methodists true fellowship in Christian experience..”
This focus on learning through small groups was crucial to the growth of the Methodist movement, and although we have lost some of this focus in recent years, other denominations have picked up the importance and power of the small group for helping people deepen their faith. During the last 50 years, many new movements based on small groups have emerged, from the Roman Catholic Base Ecclesial Communities of South America to the Korean mega-churches built around the cell group structure. Research suggests that one thing growing churches have in common is a strong emphasis on members being part of small groups.
Think for a moment about your own church. Are you part of a small group? If not, what is it that prevents you from getting involved? What would make it easier for you or for others to be part of a small group at your church?
Today Robert Schnase offers us this prayer and challenge:
Help us with ministries which make Scriptures come alive,
O God, and help me open my own heart
to the instruction of your Holy Spirit in the voices and examples of others
Challenge: Commit yourself to participating in at least one small group, Bible study, or class during the next six months.