The Cluster Concept


By Steve Cordle

This weekend is our church’s annual “ServeFest”. Many of our groups will be out in the community serving unchurch people in practical ways: from painting their homes, to doing repairs, to servant-evangelism projects like passing out water on a walking trail. In previous years, some of these groups band together because the scope of the project requires more than one group. This lead me to think more about the idea of “clustering”.

“Clusters” is a term coined by Mike Breen. The idea is that once a month a group of groups (a “cluster”) gathers to do something missional/service-oriented. Not only does clustering help the project get accomplished, it creates a larger, middle-sized entity which some unchurched people comfortable to attend. In the process of serving, the unchurched person can get to know some group members, and thereby become receptive to an invitation to attend a group.

Need-meeeting service is becoming increasingly popular and attractive in our culture (a good sign, indeed). Our unreached neighbors will often appreciate the chance to, say, help change the oil for single mothers, even if they aren’t ready to declare their faith in Christ. Today, serving others can be a bridge for evangelism. Clustering groups seems to be one way to create some of those opportunities.

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