An odd thing around the dinner table this evening. We got onto the subject of the 23rd Psalm, and we began to quote it from memory — my wife, my kids, and I. Can you believe they all began to laugh at me when I started using words like “restoreth” and “yea” and “thy”? I can’t help it if I learned the Psalm that long ago, can I? Can anyone else relate?
I’m thinking about small group ministries that so many churches offer these days. Many seem to be based on good principles of mutual care, and some are based around the idea that the small group or cell is the basic building-block of the church. At one time I might have said that a church without a small group ministry is missing out on a critical element of church life. In my CLB, we were all about small groups, at least in the earlier days (they became more mechanized than organic nearer the end). I remember a lot of the cell church material as well, and the attempts at hybridizing the purer forms of cell church and the megachurch mentality. I wonder now if a church with a small group ministry isn’t sometimes an oxymoronic expression of community, an attempt to replicate in smaller units the thing that’s fundamentally missing from the larger context… but since it’s fundamentally a program, its makeup cuts across the formation of organic relationship and true community.