For years people in our culture have been lulled into a spiritual stupor by too much comfort, apathy and post-modernity. But they are waking up!
#COVID19 has come like bucket of cold water in the face to someone having an afternoon nap! Even in the last few days we have heard of lots of students who are not Christians yet asking to join small groups.
There is a lot of confusion, dismay and panic about #COVID19. This has also been happening in our culture with climate change, race, gender and politics. Brexit and the Trump election revealed the fragility of everything that seemed to be certain. We've been in shock for some time.
Throughout this season, people have been waking up. Students particularly, have been waking up to the fact that they are spiritual beings. In our church we have had lots of students join us who are seeking purpose, meaning and depth.
Since we have gone into lockdown, this has accelerated. We’ve had messages from people who have lost their faith wanting to rediscover it and messages from people of no faith at all who want to know more about Jesus Christ for the first time. My sense is that these are the early signs of something that is going to happen a lot more.
The question is, how do we respond as a church? Small groups have to be the answer. We cannot rely on the big Sunday gathering any longer. Even pre-recordings or live-streamed talks aren’t going to work for discipling new Christians - in fact, they never have! What we need is a raft of new small groups in churches that can give the time and energy to discipling people. Places where you can be known, where you are missed if you are not there and where you can be real.
Maybe we are going to see something incredible happen in the church. Are we ready?
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My other reflections on why small groups are so crucial right now are: