When Carl George published Prepare Your Church for the Future in 1991 it was not the first book on small group ministry. In fact, at the time it came out there were already many books on the idea of gathering in community with a few others…for Bible study or prayer or accountability or care. If you’ve been around for a while, or have access to the library of someone who’s been around for a while, you’ve seen other books that predate George’s entry into the small group foray. But you really won’t find many others that have been as influential.
The concept of the metachurch finds its roots in Prepare Your Church for the Future. At the time of its writing it meant the next step beyond mega, but not in the sense of size. More in the sense of organization. Although size was a factor in its necessity, the concept really unfolded on the realization that in order for churches to grow larger they must grow smaller (sound familiar?). Taking his cue from churches like the Yoido Central Full Gospel Church in Seoul, Korea, George proposed that the “organizational principles of a Meta-church allows a church to maintain quality, no matter how much numerical success it experiences (p. 53).”
What are the underlying assumptions on which the meta-church capitalizes? Take a look at these seven:
- Churches of the future will be committed to making more and better disciples.
- Churches of the future will be more concerned with the size of the harvest than with the capacity of their facilities.
- Churches will be known primarily as caring places rather than as teaching associations.
- Pastors will genuinely encourage ministry by the laity, despite centuries of modeling to the contrary.
- Lay ministry assignments will involve leadership of a group.
- Laity, given the opportunity, will invest time, energy, and money to learn the skills required to do a competent job of pastoring.
- Pastors and people will remain dependent on the Holy Spirit to make His gifts available for mutually edifying one-another ministry.
The question might be, “Why read it now?” After all, if it was published in 1991, isn’t it pretty much out of date? The answer is “no”. In fact, when you read Building a Church of Small Groups: A Place Where Nobody Stands Alone or Creating Community: Five Keys to Building a Small Group Culture your understanding will be enhanced because you’ll be aware of some important foundational concepts that are found in the organizational structures of both Willow Creek and North Point.
Ready to add to your foundation? You can pick up your copy RIGHT HERE.