"Step aside, Ward and June Cleaver. The days of housewives in pearls and pumps are over." Rapidly disappearing are firm and fatherly chats with errant sons. A startling number of today's kids would have to hire a detective to track down bio-dad if they wanted to learn "father knows best." The grim statistics from the recent census confirm our worst suspicionsthe traditional nuclear family is normal for fewer than 25 percent of American households. (James Dobson, Families in Crisis from Focus on the Family, August 2001).
Church attendance or small group leadership does not guarantee a perfect family life either. In fact, small group involvement and church responsibility may cause problems. Recently a small group leader confided his small group involvement was causing tension at home. This man is passionate about small groups. They are responsible for much of his spiritual growth. He belongs to a men's accountability group and leads a group of mixed adults. Because he has such a clear understanding of small group ministry, we could address his family relationships in terms of small group dynamics.
The same biblical principle underlies both small group and family. In Biblical Foundations for Small Group Ministry Gareth Icenogle points out the significance of family units in Hebrew history as one example of God's emphasis on relationships. Current small group rationale acknowledges that our mobile societyin which individuals have moved away from small towns and extended family supporthas increased our need to recreate these bonds through intentional involvement in small groups.
Small groups which originated as "substitute" family now provide a model by which we can strengthen the bonds within our natural families. ...