– by Manie Groenewald
There are two verses in the book of Acts that makes it evident that Christian community was not only formed when believers gathered in the temple court, but also during smaller gatherings that took place from house to house (Acts 2:46 & Acts 5:42). Today this model for the Church is established worldwide. Some use the term cell groups, others may speak of Bible studies, life groups, or home church.
The basic concept remains the same: small groups of people who gather regularly to worship, pray, study God’s Word, and fellowship together. Many people have testimonies of how their small group has helped and encouraged them, not only in their walk of faith but also in practical ways. I personally can testify of this. In October 2016, after a bicycle accident, our five year old boy ended up in hospital for 16 days and almost died! Of course our parents and family supported us, but it was our other “family” that did more for us in this time of crisis than we could ever have imagined.
They visited us, arranged meals, provided us with accommodation close to the hospital, and helped in many other ways. But it was the way they held us in prayer and prayed around the bed of our son that impacted us the most. So it is with a passion for small groups that I can share about the Small Group Network South Africa. In 2014 a group of pastors in Pretoria began meeting together to share ideas and resources regarding small group ministry.
And since then another seven small group huddles have been formed countrywide. There is something special that takes place when pastors from various churches and denominations get together to learn from one another and help extend the Kingdom of God. We are trusting that the Lord will use the Small Group Network to bring great renewal to small group ministries in churches throughout our nation. In February/March this year Pastor Steve Gladen from Saddleback Church in the United States will be coming to South Africa.
He will host two conferences, one in Cape Town and one in Pretoria, as well as a breakfast seminar in Port Elizabeth. Steve has led the small group ministry at Saddleback Church for nearly 20 years (currently they have more than 7000 groups), and also oversees the International Small Group Network.
We invite all small group leaders, pastors, and anyone who has a heart for small groups to attend. Bookings for the conferences can be made at iTickets.co.za or for more information, please send an e-mail to email@example.com or contact Annaliese at (012) 997-8100.
MANIE GROENEWALD is currently leading the small group ministry at Moreletapark Congregation in Pretoria and also acts as the national coordinator of the Small Group Network in South Africa.