In Prepare Your Church for the Future, Carl George presents a concept for the future church and church growth called the “meta-church model”.
The basic element of the meta-church is the development of “cell groups.” These “cells” are the basic unit of the meta-church. “Meta” means change. Therefore George is referring to a church movement that will incorporate a “change” from what the church in North America has known from its inception.
The two basic components of the meta-church are those of the cell groups and celebratory worship. The development of cell groups uses the “nucleus” of X, leaders of ten or less, Xa, an apprentice to the X, and an H, a hostess to help with the fellowship of the cell group. George uses this concept of “cells” in helping to show how cells divide and grow much like other “living” organisms.
According to George, cells are the fundamental building blocks of life, even the life of the church. The entire ministry of the meta-church is based upon groups of ten or less. George also believes that the ministry of the church should be person focused, not program focused.
I have used this book as a training manual for congregations I have served. We used it to help in the development of “cells”. The concept of small group ministry is one which I feel can succeed, however, in areas like the Southeast in the United States, the notion of reworking the entire system of how a congregation does ministry is somewhat challenging. I believe it would succeed with a “new congregation” if that congregation does not carry with it a strong history of “how church is supposed to be done.” The strength of this book is its possibilities of what a church can become. Its weakness is a lack of realism for areas well established with a strong church history.
The strongest point of this book is the concept of how to develop “cell groups.” For several years now I have tried to use the “nucleus concept” in helping to develop new and strong leaders for the future. The apprentice (Xa) concept has been visually helpful for me in the development of future leaders.
“Beyond the family level, the most basic cluster of believers possible is a small, informal gathering.” p.45