What does future church growth look like? Will the church grow in the decades ahead? Will Christian congregations close more churches than they create?
In Prepare Your Church for the Future, Carl George presents a concept for the future church growth called the “meta-church model”.
The basic element of the meta-church is the development of “cell groups.”
According to George, 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 for centuries.
Components of the Meta-Church
The two basic components of the meta-church are:
- cell groups
- celebratory worship.
To development cell groups a nucleus must be created. This nucleus needs to be made up of three parts:
- X, leaders of ten or less
- Xa, an apprentice to the X, and
- 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.
Group Ministry and the Future Church
The concept of small group ministry is one which can succeed. However, in areas like the Southeast of the United States, the notion of reworking the entire system of how a congregation does ministry is challenging.
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 can be helpful in the development of future leaders.
A Good Quote From Prepare Your Church for the Future:
“Beyond the family level, the most basic cluster of believers possible is a small, informal gathering.” p.45