We asked a number of small group authorities from around the world these questions: "How can small groups help bring revival to the church?" and "What can leaders do in their areas to help bring revival?"
Responding this month are:
- Jim Egli, TOUCH Outreach Ministries
- Thom Corrigan, The Pilgrimage Group
- Len Woods, Christ Community Church, author
- Larry Kreider, DOVE Christian Fellowship International
Here are their answers.
Jim Egli, Director of Training
TOUCH Outreach Ministries
Small groups have been a crucial ingredient of every sustained revival movement—to my knowledge—whether the twentieth-century East African Revival, the eighteenth-century Wesleyan Revival, the sixteenth-century Anabaptist movement, the Pietist movement, or the modern charismatic renewal. They sustain and multiply the fruit of revival. Crucial to this, however, is discipleship and leadership-multiplication systems.
We aren't used to thinking in terms of both "systems" and "revival" but, in fact, they go hand-in-hand. This was Wesley's genius and why his revival movement grew for one hundred years after his death while the other revivalist of his day had little or nothing to show for their efforts even at the end of their lifetimes. Wesley's contemporary, George Whitefield, commented on the difference between his labors and Wesley's: "My Brother Wesley acted wisely—the souls that were awakened under his ministry he joined in class, and thus preserved the fruit of his labor. This I neglected, and my people are a roap of sand" (Michael Henderson, John Wesley's Class Meeting, p. 30).
Wesley's "classes" were heterogeneous home cells. They weren't just small groups, however, they were part of a developed system that had honed effective ...