Post 2 replies of 200 words each to the below responses of students concerning what Comiskey says regarding small groups and ecclesiology and strategies their strategies on how they are planning to grow and multiply new small groups for the future.

Discussion Reply: How to Multiply a Small Group

Post 2 replies of 200 words each to the below responses of students concerning what Comiskey says regarding small groups and ecclesiology and strategies their strategies on how they are planning to grow and multiply new small groups for the future.

You must support your assertions with 2 scholarly citations in Turabian format. Any sources cited must have been published within the last five years. Acceptable sources include the textbook and the Bible.

Student 1 Scott
There is a fascinating relationship between small groups and ecclesiology. Small groups, which can also be referred to as cell groups, represent a gathering of people who do Christian life together. Ecclesiology is the study of the theology of the nature of Christian churches. How could these two things be related? In this paper, four factors that relate small groups and ecclesiology will be described. Once described, this author will offer a few strategies on how he plans to grow and multiply small groups in the future.
First, a church should not be considered a building. Instead, it should be a gathering of people. Here is where the first relationship between small groups and ecclesiology is seen. A small group is a church. Stated another way, a church can be a gathering of a small group. That being said, it may also be important to have a location to gather—a place to gather. In the New Testament, that location, or place, was a home. Comiskey writes, “early Christians met primarily in the homes of individual members over a period of nearly three hundred years” (Comiskey, Biblical Foundations, 87-88). The home was the location at which the small group would gather.
Second, a church is much like a family. Indeed, it was a family in the Ancient Near East. The idea of an extended family was quite common at that time even if it seems entirely foreign to a modern, western mindset. The people in the extended family would include husband and wife, as well as their parents, grandparents, children, other relatives, and servants. This extended family was referred to as “oikos, which means household, house or family” (Comiskey, 102). The household and neighboring households could become a small group, representing the church at that time.
Third, the leaders of small groups in these house churches may become leaders in the larger church body. According to Comiskey, “The early house churches were the incubators for leadership. Often the person who opened his or her home would assume the leadership role” (Comiskey, 120). Imagine that. The small group would lead to something bigger, to something that would multiply. This would considerably help with church growth, which in turn, leads to the fourth factor.
Fourth, small groups in these house churches were part of a much larger, citywide church. These are then considered to be part of a larger church in the local geography. It would seem true that, “The house churches that Paul planted, in other words, were part of a larger unit” (Comiskey, 138). The idea of multiplication is what enabled the church to grow in the first century. In other words, small groups led to other connected small groups, which were all connected into an even larger group, the body of Christ.
For this author, the idea of multiplication is intriguing. Although he is not currently part of a small group, he can imagine that he will join one soon. From there, several strategies for multiplication will be possible. First, it is unlikely that this author will start his own small group right away; however, after being part of a small group, it is very possible that he will grow in his small group leadership skills to multiply to a new group. Second, perhaps there is a current small group leaders who is in need of an apprentice leader. This author could be that apprentice leader, perhaps to take over the small group so that the current small group leader could multiply another group on his or her own.

Student 2 Melissa
Comiskey first helped us look at God’s trinitarian nature to begin to understand the methodology we should be using in our cell or small group ministry. Once we knew and understood that, Comiskey leads us in to talking about the family of God, including what the multi-generational families looked like starting with Noah and his family after being given direction to, “be fruitful and increase in number.”[1] It helped us to understand that the picture of family in those days is not the nuclear picture we have of family today.  Comiskey quoted Perdue who explained, “The social and economic interdependence of members of the household produced the understanding of corporate identity and community that shaped people’s relationships and lives. In the household, individual will and needs merged into the collective will and needs of the larger whole. The behavior of the individual affected the whole, and this was especially true of the head of the household, who embodied within himself the whole of the household.”[2]  This gives us the framework to understand what we should be working toward in the family of God and as we are forming cell groups or community groups.
We learned of the oikos or the household’s role in the early church and how the oikos network of relationships “was the prominent social structure of the day and included legal, economic, and biological implications. By belonging to a particular oikos, each person gained a sense of identity within the larger society.”[3] This oikos structure was the person’s main sense of identity and was significant in the structure of the early church. Those household/ house church leaders became the leaders of the foundation of the church.
Today as we grow and multiply the small group my husband and I lead; I have been especially convicted of our closed small group versus an open small group. My husband and I are praying on how to handle this as our church uses the small group structure and my husband believes and I still struggle with, do you lose the vulnerability that comes from knowing and sharing with the same group of people week in and week out.  If there is a new person or people in attendance every week, how do you keep the level of vulnerability?  Then, how do we get buy in from the members in our current small group or do you wait for the next cycle of groups to make the change? Dr. Dempsey talked in a class article, Transitioning to Small groups about starting small groups in your church and I think the same principles can apply. Dr. Dempsey specifically noted, “Seek God’s Direction from His Word. Examine passages like the Great Commandment and the Great Commission and the New Commandment and ask yourself the question, ‘are we following the exhortations from these passages… or are we developing Christians who look like these passages.”[4]  This is what we will be doing over the next period of time as we pray and consider moving forward.
In the meantime, we can continue to use the strategies we have learned to develop relationships with people in our community on an intentional basis. We will continue to pray for the Lord to point out to who we should be inviting and then just reach out.  We’ll work to make it easy for them to say yes by inviting them to fun and social things before inviting them to church events and then eventually to a group meeting.
We need to set a dream and goal to multiply our group.  Then we pray and do the work toward that by focusing on each step of starting, leading and growing our group. In the past, we have looked for a couple in our groups who can start to apprentice us and then eventually become leaders of a new group, counting that as multiplication, but again, I’m looking at that differently.

Post 2 replies of 200 words each to the below responses of students concerning what Comiskey says regarding small groups and ecclesiology and strategies their strategies on how they are planning to grow and multiply new small groups for the future.