If you have been around NCD for much time at all, you will know that one of the eight factors upon which church health is built is “holistic small groups.” But what does that actually mean? While our blog last week discussed redefining Christian community, what makes a small group “holistic?”
Simply put, holistic small groups allow us to express our love to God in three ways: with our heads, our hands, and our hearts (see diagram below). There are three basic questions we must ask:
- What do you think (head)?
- How do you feel (heart)?
- What will you do (hands)?
Additionally, there are seven qualities that take a position in relation to each area (heads, hands, hearts).
- Effective structures (green/head) are focused on reflective through and consistent planning.
- Need-oriented evangelism (red/hands) focuses on doing something practical, often manifesting itself through sharing what we have received.
- Passionate spiritualty (blue/heart) includes every aspect of our emotional lives.
- Gift-based ministry is positioned between head (green) and hands (red) as it relates to spiritual gifts to concrete tasks.
- Loving relationships is between heart (blue) and hands (red); it involves doing the right thing for the right reason.
- Inspiring worship is positioned between the head (green) and heart (blue) and is less action-focused, but more focused on internal processing between the head and heart.
- At the center of this all is empowering leadership, which utilizes characteristics of all three color-areas, depending on the need of the group.
Small groups are, in essence, miniature churches. And, just as churches have different focuses in their mission, small groups do the same. Some small groups focus on nurturing the inner person and their relationship with Jesus. Others focus on outreach and/or ministering to others. Christian Schwarz even suggests that, “Differences in focus at the small group level is one of the greatest resources of a local church” (The 3 Colors of Community, p. 14). What powerful potential small groups have!
– What kind of research has NCD International done on small groups?
– Why are the quality characteristics of healthy churches and small groups almost identical?
To get answers to these questions and more, visit: 3colorsofcommunity.org