Thursday, August 27, 2009

Small Groups

At the Decatur Church of Christ, we are introducing small groups beginning in October. Jacob and I are sharing the sermon time to inform our congregation about how that will look for us. I am REALLY excited about this new direction for our church. This is not simply another program or activity. I believe it to be vital to who we want to be as disciples of Jesus.

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.


Jeff said...

In my ignorance, I have long thought we were far away from being like the early church even while many in our family crowed about how close we were. I've never liked being a part of the "restoration movement" because I just want to be a part of "God's movement." Maybe it's only a matter of semantics and another case of me making a mountain out of a molehill.

I am hoping small groups will drive us to more discipleship-living.

Rick Ross said...

To anonymous: I don't post anonymous replies on this blog. However, I would be glad to discuss your response to today's blog. I wasn't real sure if what I said offended you -- or if you were agreeing with me. Maybe both. You can email me at

Kyle R. said...

I also am really excited about small groups. While there will certainly be challenges in doing this, I believe it is will be highly beneficial and effective-- not to mention extremely scriptural.

BP in MS said...

The church here in MS has small groups and starting this month we are hosting one at our house. The one we were in grew too large ~30people each sunday night at one house. It has been a blessing and many visitors are more comfortable first coming to someone's house than directly to the church building. It definitely builds closer relationships and accountability.

randy said...

On the airplane to and from Oregon, I read a book called "Discovering our Roots: The Ancestry of the Churches of Christ" by Allen and Hughes. Unlike most books on restoration history, this work essentially discusses the similarities and dissimilaries of the different groups that desired to restore the 1st century church. I highly recommend it. It's hard to imagine something more 1st century like than meeting in small groups in the homes of believers.

Blackie said...

Constantine founded the Catholic Church? Really Rick? You believe that?

Here...let me offer you 2 links to my blog that refute that balderdash.

Rick Ross said...


We can all be guilty of revisionist history.

I hope you haven't missed the points I am trying to make in my blogs because of lifting single sentences out of them. You have done an excellent job of selective reading. Seems your sensitivity has led you to look only for the word "Catholic" -- and then jump to conclusions. In your crusade to set me right and call names, you have conveniently overlooked the times I have quoted Henry Nouwen, for example.

Blessings and peace.