Editor note: Below is an article by Mr. Jamie Mcnab and printed in the Churches of God Outreach Ministries in Tulsa OK. showing the value added benefits of the “small church or flock” Quite eye opening material.
The Small Church…
the New Testament example
How we perceive “the church” can shape our approach to both aspects of our commission, as Christians. As the people of God we are to become nourished spiritually (to grow in grace) – and to disciple even one, How can this best be achieved? by Jamie Bride
Most folk perceive the church as a building which is die center for few or many activities. The Biblical view, however. is that the church (Gk: ecclesia is the people – those who have been called out by God. They are described in Scripture as kleros – a Greek word later misappropriated to designate a separate leadership class, the clergy.
Whichever view we take, most Christians believe that big is beautiful. Success ls measured by the numbers crowding into the meeting place Sabbath by Sabbath. or the number of converts added. An inner-city half dozen struggling to survive is seen as a failure and a great new crowded edifice as an indicator of the blessing of God.
New Testament Pattern Neither is necessarily sol For the small struggling community- may represent where God is work Lag id that area. The large enthusiastic church may be so far out of touch with the true faith that in God s eyes it is total failure! Indeed the small group may be the perfect template to accomplish our two aims -personal growth and mission.
[The assembly (ies) is used here to avoid constant repetition of the words small group (s). The word church designates the larger unitary congregation]
There is much evidence in the scriptures that ”small is beautiful”. It isn’t for a couple of hundred years from the beginnings of Christianity that we see Christians meeting in buildings set apart for the purpose. Until then the pattern was for what in modern terms are called “house churches”. They consisted of a dozen or so Christian families in a locality meeting in homes. The church in Rome is an example, with the leaders of several such assemblies listed. (ch 16). This format is indicated by the frequent mention of the appointment of multiple leadership in a city. An example is Paul’s convening of the elders of the city of Ephesus (Acts 20) – where the context implies more than two or three elders in the city. Or the instruction to Titus to appoint elders in every Cretan city.
This doesn’t mean that there were few brethren – simply that no matter how numerous they chose to meet regularly in such assemblies. And as a reading of Roman 16 confirms, there were fraternal relations between the assemblies they were all known to one another. Apostolic letters were sent for the benefit of all the Christians in a city- e.g. Corinth, Ephesus, Philippi. There was a network of interacting assemblies……..