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CHURCH ON WEEKDAYS - SMALL CHURCH EXPERIENCE
KBnB: MIDWEEK MEETINGS ARE THE KEYSTONE SPECIES TO SPIRITUAL FORMATION
The Jerusalem 12 gave us a key truth hidden in plain sight. Spiritual formation is most dynamic in group settings that are limited by the size of the room (Acts 5:42, 2:26). The temple meetings were great and had an overall galvanizing purpose that was powerful, but for the saints to become "oaks of righteousness" (Is. 61:3e), meeting in groups of limited size was key. Social learning with limited numbers was the spiritual greenhouse model set by God. By employing small gatherings that occurred dynamically, intimately and personally, accountability, knowledge transfer, group catechism (learning through questions and answer), fellowship, friendship, support, and laughter were all seamlessly bundled together. Temple meetings water the church with rain from 30,000 feet, but the small church experience fertilize the saints at ground level.
In addition to this, of prime importance was that content in the meetings were taught by the senior leadership of the church. It was the apostles that circulated among the saints when they met (Acts 5:42). They provided the spiritual nourishment. They provided the voice of the shepherd. They imparted the spiritual authority that was needed to keep the church on point. They were the rudder in the water. They protected the flock and loved on them. It was their words that the Holy Spirit customized to tend to the needs of the congregation. Our spiritual formation is best nurtured by home-cooked meals. Take-in or take out meals are fine, but only as supplements. They idea of the saints primarily using spiritual content in a free-market system of learning (purchasable as books, tapes, videos, online, etc.) is not bad, but they are not utilizing the most nutritious system for spiritual growth. God's design is to grow the flock with teaching from the local leadership. They are appointed and anointed by God to express HIs heart and care. Outside materials can't do this to the same degree. They are surrogate parents. This is an important point for leadership teams to grasp if they are to embrace the 611 Model. In fact this Small Church Experience is a "keystones species" in God's spiritual ecosystem.
KEYSTONES SPECIES DEFINED
"A keystone species is an organism that helps define an entire ecosystem. Without its keystone species, the ecosystem would be dramatically different or cease to exist altogether." (1)
In any arrangement or community, the “keystone” is considered one of the most vital parts. In a marine ecosystem, or any type of ecosystem, a keystone species is an organism that helps hold the system together. Without its keystone species, ecosystems would look very different. (2,3)
THE APOSTLES DEPENDED ON THE SMALL CHURCH EXPERIENCE AS THEIR DISCIPLESHIP ENGINE
Meeting in numbers limited by square footage was a strategic discipleship engine from God. After hearing a message from their leaders, the believers would discuss, pray, and quickly put into action what they had been taught. The distance between learning and activation was negligible. This would sharpen and fuel one another in their love for Jesus and the growth of their faith. Discipleship had traction because of these intentional smaller settings. And therein lies another hidden gem -- these smaller settings were born of a spirit of hospitality.
KBnB - THE ORIGINAL HOSPITALITY IDEA
We love how Airbnb was a trail blazer in the sharing economy. But there was a forerunner to Airbnb. It was the Christians in the early church. They freely shared their personal spaces so they could flourish together as they prayed, fellowshipped and devoured the apostles teachings as new Christians. They had no permanent auditoriums or sanctuaries but that didn't matter. They leveraged what places they had -- small, humble, big, glamorous -- with welcoming hearts . Hospitality was an essential part of their identity and a secret to their city-wide success. They had their own Kingdom BnB. They beat Silicon Valley to the punch.
HOMES HAVE HISTORICALLY BEEN THE FUNDAMENTAL UNIT OF CHURCH HEALTH AND CHURCH GROWTH.
FALLING IN LOVE WITH WHAT GOD LOVES
Making disciples is what God loves. This is the core of the Great Commission. And Small Church Uprising is His physical, social, strategic and spiritual model for making passionate followers of Jesus. We aren't reinventing the wheel. We're just taking our cue from the masters.
(1) National Geographic, Role of Keystone Species in an Ecosystem, 2019. https://bit.ly/32KYOXW
(2) National Geographic, Keystone Species, n.d. https://tinyurl.com/2zjuxdjz
(3) Concept of keystones species was developed by Zoologist Bob T. Paine in 1969 (The Serengeti Rules).
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