Mid-size Community Groups (Second Run)

by Rob Campbell


The post below was posted last week as well.  I decided to run it again because I have a hunch that more comments would benefit this blog community.   Please comment after reading.

My church family is beginning Midsize Community Groups.  Authors Bob Hopkins and Mike Breen call these groups “clusters.”  As a matter of fact, Hopkins and Breen wrote a book entitled CLUSTERS:  Creative Mid-Sized Missional Communities.

I am currently reading this book and was recently inspired to form MCGs after hearing Hopkins and Breen speak on this issue.  In a nutshell, Hopkins and Breen are seeing remarkable success with MCGs in tough to reach places such as (Eastern) Europe.  My understanding is that American churches are testing the waters with MCGs as well.  To me, MCGs might be something your cell church would want to know about.

According to Hopkins and Breen:

Clusters are mid-sized groups (larger than cells and smaller than celebrations) which grow together in their relationship to God as they explore relevant whole-life spirituality.

Clusters build Christian community as places of belonging and participation…on days, times and places that suit (they are quite distinctly different from inherited “Sunday Service”).

Clusters gain identity and purpose from a united mission vision, being called to a clear geographic or network focus and engaging with the social patterns of that culture and context.

Clusters are linked together by a network of support and accountability to a diversity of other mid-sized groups.

Clusters are led by ordinary unpaid Christians in their non-work time, both receiving and passing on Jesus’ pattern of discipleship.

A pastor friend of mine recently used this metaphor concerning the cell church as it relates to Clusters (MCGs).

The cell is like a hot tub– it can be intimate and small.  These are not negative descriptors, just reality.

Celebration is like a swim meet– few participants and many spectators.  These are not negative descriptors, just reality.

Side note:  Please know that cells and Celebration are (for the most part) attractional.  Once again, this is not a negative descriptor, just reality.

This pastor says, “What we need are `pool parties.’  A gathering of 30-50 people who are missional and incarnational.”  They have a passion for `x,y,z’ which is directly hinged to the vision of the church and they purposefully integrate their lives into their respective community.  For example, one MCG gathers twice a month.  When they come together, they enjoy dinner together and celebrate the Lord’s Supper.  They sing a few worship songs and then they go…to an elderly person’s home and work for two to three hours.  Indeed, much can be accomplished by 30-50 people in a few hours!

So, here’s what I want to know.  Is anyone out there in this blog community doing MCGs (Clusters)?  Tell us about it.  Further, do you think MCGs could invigorate the mission, passion, and vision of your church family?


3 thoughts on “Mid-size Community Groups (Second Run)

  • This week we are holding “pool parties” on three nights. This was scheduled when your post came out last week. Last night was the 1st of 3 gatherings. MCGs are formed with 8 cell groups on Tuesday, 2 Recovery cells on Wednesday and 5 on Thursday.

    The speaker from the weekend celebrations is presenting the “Word” section for follow through and application. Last night was fantastic and staying with the metaphor, everyone got at least a little wet, some swam and others brought friends to the party who enjoyed the non-threatening atmosphere and what was being served (content).

    Thanks Rob, for the great blog, my leaders already use the terminology about “pool parties” with great understanding and agreement!

  • Hey, Rob, we at Wellspring have done some things with all the men and we will continue to do this. As men’s cells multiply we want to do more CONGREGATIONAL type meetings with those men’s cells. OF course, in cell churches, districts and zones often meet at the congregational level. And you probably know that Bethany World Prayer Center brings all their men’s cells together in a mid-size congregational group to do outreach, etc. They do the same for their women’s cells. In the larger cell churches I studied this was very, very common. It’s just a lot harder to do this when you’re planting a church and don’t have as many people to do it effectively.

  • I look at my NT, and i see the concept of “house churches” together with the local church. This local church with elders was composed of celebration times 1Cor. 14.23 where the whole church gathered, and house churches where a number of people gathered for edification and evangelism. The two were called churches. This is the cell church (local & house). We have found that it can help to have two cells gathered in the same house and we call it a house church. This is true that mid size (20-30 people) can accomplish much more, but there is also the need to have 10-12 people together to keep the proximity. So we tried to have two cells in the house church in view of the multiplication. Our conclusion is not established yet, but i can see that in the NT the house church would have probably around 25-40 in the court of a house or something of that proportion.

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