Dawning realization that there must be some better way to connect people to church members
Some better way to multiply my efforts
Initial attempt at small groups in pastoral setting
Pastoring in suburban setting (M) - went to training by Robert Coleman, founder of Serendipity House Publishers
Tried to incorporate Serendipity Bible, etc., various small group materials
Had difficulty getting church members to make consistent commitment to small group ministry during the week
Attempts at small groups in urban setting - New Jersey
In a more busy, urban setting not only had difficulty getting church members to make consistent commitment to small groups, but had difficulty getting church members involved in anything outside of Sabbath morning
Across NAD, holistic small groups is consistently lowest score on NCD
“ After we had processed all 4.2 million survey answers, we calculated which of the 170 variables had the most significant relationship to church growth . It is probably no coincidence that our computer survey selected this variable in the area of ‘holistic small groups’: ‘ Our church consciously promotes the multiplication of small groups through cell division .’
If we were to identify any one principle as the ‘most important’ – even though our research shows the interplay of all basics elements is important – then without a doubt it would be the multiplication of small groups .”
“ . . . there is a greater tendency to give small groups priority over worship service attendance , in itself a strange alternative, in churches with a high quality index and in churches that are growing numerically.”
Why has this factor continued to be our lowest, in spite of its persistence as lowest?
Possibly because, as Adventist, we devote a twenty-four hour time slot to “our religious experience” and a few hours of “common time,” Sabbath morning, in particular; however, after our Sabbath gathering, we tend to be done with gathering for the week.
Initial attempts at trying to multiply my efforts
First attempts at multiplying pastoral efforts via videos
Church members tended to be mailmen rather than relationship builders no matter how much we tried to encourage, coach, train in relationship building
Interests did not easily bridge over to coming to the church building
Even with Net events (‘99) clear presentations, had very difficult time getting church members to build relationships
Presentation by conference president from segments in Beckham’s The Second Reformation
List of NT church characteristics
Russell Burrill’s books
EGW cautions about not calling for settled pastors over churches
Role of pastors in early Adventism
Are these principals that still apply?
Or are things different today? This was only applicable back then?
A look at architecture history reference to Old St. Peter’s
Constantine gave us a way of worship as well as a day of worship
Although occasional ceremonies may have been held in catacombs, it is likely that they were regularly held in private homes --- rearranged to make “community” houses --- or in simple columned halls. The later have not survived intact, having been destroyed in the last great persecution under Diocletian.
When Christianity achieved imperial sanction under Constantine, there was suddenly the urgent need to set up buildings that would meet the requirements of the Christian liturgy. All the architectural ingredients were present: the atrium house, the catacomb chapel, the Roman basilica.
How these combined into the masterful composition that was one of the first Christian church buildings of the new age, old St. Peters in Rome, we do not know. Discussion about the origins of the Christian basilica has not ended. Gardner’s Art Through the Ages, pp. 238-239
Dedicated in 326, St. Peter’s is probably the most important design in the history of church architecture . Being the first church in the ancient capital, it had a wide influence, which was augmented by the belief that it stood where Peter, first of the apostles, had been martyred.
Its extraordinary dimensions are difficult to realize from the old drawings; the nave was as long, as high, and twice as wide as the nave of the great Gothic cathedral. Its interior was one “one of the most spacious, most imposing, and most harmonious . . . ever built, imperially rich in its marbles and mosaics, grandiose yet forthright and large in the best Roman sense of the word. Gardner’s Art Through the Ages, p. 239.
Primary focus – find, pick, and disciple/care for ripe fruit (those who are spiritually open to something better)
Context of equipping – It is more important for us that those to whom we minister be involved in a small group on the Sabbath than attend a church (worship service) on the Sabbath; and we will consciously promote the multiplication of these small Sabbath groups through cell division.
Establish holistic small groups – buckets for the berries – as the fundamental and most important regular, life-changing corporate experience (and the most important corporate Sabbath experience) for members and non-members - more important than the worship service.