Small Groups – The New Front Door

Non-Christians can encounter God through witnessing oneness among Christians within small groups.

It was a defining moment in Jesus' relationship with his disciples. John 13 says that Passover evening started with an amazing hands-on illustration of fully extended love. This was followed by a lively discussion on betrayal. Out of the tension of these discussions, Jesus shared a vision of a reality not yet seen—a reality where Christians loved each other like He loved them and where those far from Christ were drawn closer to Christ because of the love they saw in His followers (v. 34,35). I think Jesus might have been looking down through history to see small groups of believers whose relationships were so real and so contagious that people were relationally drawn to join them, to find Christ, and to enter the front door of His church.

In his book, Mark of a Christian, Francis Schaeffer, commenting on John 13:34-35, states "We cannot expect the world to believe that the Father sent the Son, that Jesus' claims are true, and that Christianity is true, unless the world sees some reality of the oneness of true Christians." ( This quote has been lodged in the back of my mind for more than a decade. I have both sensed and seen its truth. It was natural for me to invite my unconvinced friend who coaches my daughter's soccer team to join a men's group I started last fall. I cannot tell you how cool it was to watch him pray with the girls for the first time a couple of weeks ago before a game. I remember another friend coming to Christ a few years back through the influence of the small group that I led at that time. I think this is happening under the radar all over the place in our small groups. We did a survey recently and half of our small group leaders said that at least 2 or more people had ...

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