bible-lessonsThe Sunday School is uniquely positioned to launch a movement of small groups. Here is the vision: to see a biblically functioning small group within walking distance of everyone on the planet. (Thank you, Rick Howerton https://rickhowerton.wordpress.com/)

Imagine a micro-church in every neighborhood. A close-knit band of Bible-study, caring, sharing, serving, loving, praying, spirit-filled, dispensational believers—OK, that last one is optional.

The research is in on this. Attending a worship service does not change your life all that much:

REVEAL’S most significant findings: participation in church activities does not necessarily drive spiritual growth.

What does predict spiritual growth? Again, the research is in:

As our data and analysis has become more comprehensive and enriched through the participation of additional churches, we continue to see this pattern emerge: personal spiritual practices are the secret to a fully engaged Christ-Centered identity. If we could recommend only one spiritual growth pathway for people to follow, personal spiritual practices would be it.

One more:

Put simply, I spend many late nights and early mornings sifting through raw data about human actions, analyzing responses to surveys, building statistical models, testing hypotheses—and connecting a whole bunch of “behavior dots,” so to speak. I gather my data through carefully constructed questionnaires and interviews. (Yes, I used to wear thick-framed glasses; but no, I don’t own a pocket protector.)

When I applied these methods to research about Scripture engagement as it relates to behavior and spiritual life, here’s what I learned: The Bible matters—a lot. In fact, spiritually and behaviorally speaking, we found that nothing comes close to having the Bible’s impact on the spiritual lives of those who engage it.

Engaging God’s Word consistently makes the difference in regard to lasting spiritual growth—especially in the realms of overcoming temptations and changing negative behaviors (overcoming past wounds, addictions, etc.).

Time in the Word, not time in church, predicts spiritual growth.

So, how do we get people in the Word? Again, the research is in:

Those respondents who attend groups are spending significantly more time reading and studying the Bible.

Additionally, those individuals regularly attending groups are more actively praying. Whether it is for the church and its leaders, with other Christians, for fellow Christians, or for those who are not professing Christians, regular attendees are praying at least a few times a week at a much higher percentage than those who do not attend a group.

All over the world God is blessing His church through church planting movements. Multiplying armies of churches are bringing millions into the fold. See T4T to see just one example. But, it is important to understand that these multiplying church planting movements are not made up of church as we normally think of them. They are not churches with buildings and seminary-trained leaders. They are churches that meet in homes with laymen who lead them. They are more like a Sunday School class than what we normally think of as a church.

And it occurs to me that the Sunday School in uniquely situated to start a movement of multiplying groups—of putting a group within walking distance of everyone on the planet. I say this for two reasons:

The Sunday School is by far and away the largest organization of the church. Imagine every Sunday School class started a handful of groups with the vision of multiplying every 18 months or less. (A group of 10 that doubles every 18 months will reach 1000 people in 10 years.)

The Sunday School is, in the words of David Francis, the original Small Group movement. It is a lay-led movement of groups that is uniquely positioned to launch a lay-led movement of groups.

Won’t you join the movement? Here is one who has: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snyqldSKr8Q 

Spread the word. If you are a blogger, write your own article on why would you would like to see a biblically-functioning small group within walking distance of everyone on the planet.

If you are a church leader, cast a vision to your church, and to fellow pastors in your area about why you would like to see a biblically-functioning small group within walking distance of everyone on the planet.

  • Start a small group. Gather some friends and start. Start small. Start now. Multiply.
  • Start a turbo group. A turbo group is a group that is made up of people who all have the potential of leading multiplying small groups themselves. I have prepared some lessons to help you with this. http://www.joshhunt.com/bible-lessons-for-bible-teachers/
  • Most of all, pray. Prayer… has it come to that?

A small group within walking distance: that is a vision I could get excited about.

Greg L. Hawkins and Cally Parkinson, Move: What 1,000 Churches Reveal about Spiritual Growth (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011).

Greg L. Hawkins and Cally Parkinson, Move: What 1,000 Churches Reveal about Spiritual Growth (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011).

Arnie Cole and Michael Ross, Unstuck: Your Life. God’s Design. Real Change. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2012).

Ed Stetzer and Eric Geiger, Transformational Groups: Creating a New Scorecard for Groups (Nashville: B&H, 2014).