A Church of “Free Market” Small Groups

A case study from Lakeview Christian Center's transition toward becoming a church of small groups

Attendance: 1900
Small Groups: 126 (Fall Semester)
# of people in groups: 1178 (62% based on survey in Feb 04)


Lakeview Christian Center has recently decided to become a church "OF" small groups. This has been a cultural change among the leadership of this 86 year old Assembly of God church. God has challenged the congregation of Lakeview to begin to live out the commandment to "love one another" by jumping into small groups. The current Senior Pastor, Ron Bontrager, has launched this effort into small groups from experiencing a small group himself. "God showed me that I was experiencing something that my own people were not, the dynamic of a small group" Pastor Ron said. Pastor Ron Bontrager is the 4th Pastor in the history of Lakeview Christian Center. He came to Lakeview Christian Center in 1994 as the Senior Pastor and has taken the mantel of Preaching and Teaching the Word of God to hundreds on Sunday morning and evening. Pastor Ron realized that true worship, true love for one another happens Monday through Saturday, and not just on Sunday. As God began to stir his heart toward relationships, he made a bold statement to his staff Pastors and team; "If we continue to be a non-relational church, we will attract non-relational people." This would turn out to be the pivotal point in defining what Lakeview would become. During the time God was developing this vision in Pastor Ron's heart, he found himself standing in a church holding a book that has been the springboard to Lakeview's current structure of Small Group ministry. It happened when he was visiting his brother's church (New Life Church) in Colorado Springs, CO. Pastor Ted Haggard had just released his new book, "Dog Training, Fly Fishing and Sharing Christ ...

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