Cell Biology for the Church

Why small groups don't multiply

"Charles" is the pastor of a growing, mainline church near my home. I met with him this week to talk about his home fellowship groups. The goal of this church's small groups is to be evangelistic and multiply. The problem is, more than six years after the launch of the small group program, the groups have achieved neither. My job, if I choose to accept it, is to find out why, to offer some insights, and to, perhaps, provide some solutions.

In my experience, the three most common reasons small groups do not multiply are:

  1. Because they are a few genes short of a full DNA strand.

  2. Because of aberrations during mitosis (cell division).

  3. Because of an interphase interruption, resulting in insufficient chromatids.

Cellular biology 101 (and you thought you would never use this stuff when you finished high school!). Do not panic! Even if you do not know the difference between a chromosome and an end zone, Small Group Biology is not all that difficult. Trust me, everything will be explained, so let us look at why small groups do not multiply.

1. Some are a few genes short of a full DNA strand.

Every cell in your body contains a copy of your DNA, a double-stranded helix that is the genetic version of blueprints for your body. The genes in the DNA determine things like how tall you are, what color your hair is, and whether or not you will lose all that hair. Biologists believe there are approximately 25,000 genes embedded within our DNA.

Cell groups (small groups) carry their own DNA, but thankfully we have only identified five cell-group genes:

  • Mission
  • Vision
  • Values
  • Core Beliefs
  • Expected Behaviors

In biology, when a cell divides, the DNA is replicated in the new cell. The same is true when a cell group multiplies. Thus, if the DNA of a small group ...

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