"Small Groups and the Emerging Church."—The topic was intriguing and yet so humongous, so ponderous, so weighty that I did not know where to start. It reminded me of a 60's phrase … "Wow, that's heavy, man."Then, I began reading a new book by Scott Boren, The Relational Way, andthings began to come a little more into focus. It is still "heavy, man," but Boren's perspective definitely helped me lighten the load.
Here is my main takeaway: The issue over small groups and the emerging church is a product of program-based churches and small group structures. An organic, holistic, or "relational way" of being the church, as it was first founded by Jesus and launched by the apostles, answers all the questions raised in the Church by the emerging culture and postmodern worldviews.
The Relational Way is Counter-Cultural
The model of the church in which you and I are a part, stands in stark contrast to the church of the New Testament. Boren is calling for a new restoration—a restoration of the "relational way" that is at the very heart of God and His design for His church. The ideas Boren proposes are revolutionary within our culture; indeed they are counter-cultural, which is exactly what he intends and proposes in this book.
Over the 19 years that I have been involved in the church, I have seen church leaders scramble several times to deal with cultural change: reaching baby-boomers, busters, and Gen-X, for instance. Perhaps the issue surrounding the emerging church is even bigger than those, since it deals with a much broader issue of societal change. It is good for the church to be flexible enough in its programming to continue to reach out to our culture, while never compromising the truth of the gospel itself ...