Say you are monitoring NASA's Martian rovers on the surface of Mars. To your surprise, a recent transmission of pictures, instead of showing an image of reddish colored dirt and rocks, shows the clear image of a "being"—not a human being, but a being more like E.T.! He is holding a sign, which when translated reads as follows: "Welcome earthlings! We have been studying your people and your ways. One thing we cannot figure out. What is this thing called Christian small groups?"
This scenario is obviously ridiculous, but the question is not. If someone with little or no prior experience with small groups asked you, "What is a small group?" what would you say?
Before you answer that, let's think about the beginning of the church.
Consider this … When Jesus left the earth (Acts 1:1-15), the disciples stared in wonder and confusion into the sky as their leader, Jesus, ascended. Rather than going their separate ways, those disciples gathered back together in a room in Jerusalem. Being together was the one thing they knew to do after spending these last few years with Jesus. It was while the disciples were together in the upper room that the next part of God's mission was set into motion. This mission would transform them and serve to take the message of Jesus across the face of the earth. Now, here is the key question: What did Jesus leave behind for the fulfillment of His mission?
Did He leave a headquarters building? No. The Israelites had a Temple building that was the center of their worship of God, but Jesus said before He died that He would tear the old Temple down and build a new one in three days. This temple would be spiritual rather than bricks and mortar. And besides, within a few years, Christians weren't ...