By Joel Comiskey, Living in Victory (July 15, 2020)
In April 2020 as the Covid-19 began to spread and churches could no longer gather publicly, a successful businessman who I had not heard from in many years wrote,
Your faithful seeding and watering of the house church movement is a delight to the Lord. The global pandemic has now forced a new paradigm more in alignment with New Testament definition of church and put the control back where it should have been all along with God’s Spirit, His Word and the placement of the salt out of the salt shaker where it is needed. God is humbling the institutional church establishment to bring it back to His better salt placement where it is needed most and without the distraction and capital drain and displacement of the current monoliths of institutional “churchianity”. Our resources need to shift to the New Testament model for deployment and thereby Speed His Day.
Others began to say similar things about JCG’s unique ministry of resourcing churches to make disciples in small groups. It became obvious to them that Covid-19 was a wake-up call to building-centric and personality driven churches who suddenly lacked pastoral care for their members.
Yesterday, a prominent U.S. pastor said, “Joel, the U.S. is now the third largest mission field on the planet. God is revealing to churches that attractional ministry, flashy programs, and beautiful building are simply not making disciples who make disciples.” This same pastor began to talk about the need for JCG resources to help bring Christ’s church back to a more simple, relational style of ministry.
I appreciate these voices and need to remember the bigger picture. At times I can get caught up in the details and fail to see the forest from the trees. Yes, there are a lot of important details to consider during Covid-19, like how to organize groups online and transition them back to face to face groups. Yet, the main lesson is that God is bringing his church back to making disciples through small group ministry.
Program-based churches need to wake up to a new reality. Unless people in the church are relationally connected and see their small group as the church, they can easily be scattered and discouraged during times of crisis.
Thousands of years earlier, Jethro observed that Moses had become a one-man show. He said to Moises, “What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone” (Exodus 18: 17). Jethro instructed Moises to organize the people into groups of ten with supervisors over those leaders (groups of fifties), and so forth. In this way, Moses was able to properly care for the people.
We at JCG believe that Jesus is challenging his church to organize into small groups to make disciples who make disciples. We hope you’ll take advantage of our resources, videos, and daily blogs. We want to help you more effectively prepare for the future.