Must Churches Have Small Groups (A Small Groups Ministry for Growth, Discipleship and Fellowship)?

(4) Jesus established the pattern of small groups. There are other things that people can argue Jesus established as a pattern. For example: Did Jesus also establish a pattern of picking a traitor in the small group? I mean, Jesus went out of his way to make sure that Judas was part of that inner circle (John 6:70) so should that be part of the pattern? And what’s the magic number for the small group anyway? Is it 12? Is it 11, since we’re not counting the betrayer? Or is it 70, since Jesus also had a small group of seventy? Or maybe it’s the smaller groups of 50 (Luke 9:14) like at the feeding of the multitude? The only thing we can derive from Jesus choosing and teaching the 12 is that he chose and taught the 12. We can’t get that this is the pattern for the Church as a whole or for the assembly that gathers here or there. After all, Christ also later chose Paul—how do we even copy that (a suggestion: maybe it’s 12 with a 13th outsider, but you have to add this person later on after the group is established—sort of a group member but out of time)? Like arguing from the nature of the Triune God, it’s difficult to establish a principle of ministry based on Christ’s life

But this argument goes further. It suggests that not only was the principle established, it was obvious enough that it was repeatable by the early Disciples (including Paul) and was professed as the legitimate pattern to be employed.

This unfortunately dovetails back to the point I made with all the questions. Christ was unmarried, Paul was unmarried, Paul even argues that being unmarried could be a beneficial situation for a person who is ministering. And yet, Paul quite explicitly says that being single isn’t for everyone and that the pattern is actually getting married.  Does this create a dissonance with what Paul later says about following the pattern set by Christ and by himself? Of course not. It just means that maybe Paul isn’t talking about emulating Christ in that way.

Taking up one’s cross might look differently to different people but it always reflects an end to self and a profession of Christ. For Christ, preaching the Gospel to the Pharisees looked like denouncing their hypocrisy, for Paul it meant arguing in synagogues. For Christ it meant going to the Jews and generally not dealing with Gentiles (Mark 7:25-30; Matt 15:21-28); for Paul it meant going to the Jew first then the Gentiles; for some of us it might mean going only to Gentiles.

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