As a product of the "American Restoration Movement," part of my DNA is to want to restore the simplicity of the early church. There are many in our movement who believe that restoration occurred at a particular point in the 1930s or 1950s. Yet through my study of church history, I am becoming more and more aware of how grossly short we have fallen. What 1st brought that to my attention was the realization of how we were among the most racist religious groups in those years. How can anyone possibly think they have "restored" the church of Jesus when we practiced segregation?
But then, as I read about Constantine's declaration of a "Holy Roman Empire" that ushered in the Roman Catholic Church, I realized that we are still settling for much of its form. The way we "do church" is a mixture of Roman influence and apostolic example.
Small groups is a step in the right direction of returning to the intimacy of the early church. And I am hopeful that every member of our church will be a part. I do believe that this will go a long way in keeping people from falling through the cracks or being able to say that they never found a place.
This is my dream.