Small Group Ministry Programs: The Key Ingredient for Personal and Social Spiritual Transformation
Small group ministry programs provide a platform in which a believer can grow and develop their personal and social holiness acumen. The Small Group Ministry concept, predicated on the enhancement of one's relationship with God, and their community, can once effective, ultimately, lead to personal and social spiritual transformation. While also providing an opportunity for evangelism and the spiritual transformation of participating non-believers.
We can therefore appreciate that a vibrant and effective small group ministry program presents an environment where Christian believer's both new and old, as well as non-Christians, can share and learn about the Christian beliefs and values system. The New Testament church aptly described in Acts 2:42-46, presents a clear example of how fellowship gatherings of teaching, prayer, compassion, charity, and the breaking of bread led to great evangelism, resulting in multiple lives being holistically spiritually transformed. Dr. Peter Bunton reminds us of the roots of small groups ministry in the Reform movement, where Martin Luther in his preface to "The German Mass of 1526" encouraged followers to assemble by themselves in houses to pray, read the scriptures, and practice other forms of Christian works. We also find John Wesley embracing smaller fellowship groups such as classes and bands to assist in the personal and social spiritual transformation of the participants.
Therefore, the underlying functioning of the small group’s ministry is to release the priestly calling God has bestowed upon his redeemed as annunciated in 1 Peter 2:9. Moreover, the groups present a place where individual spiritual gifts that may have once been overlooked, in larger congregational setting's can now be used, in God's ultimate kingdom agenda. The groups also present an environment where interpersonal relationships can be developed across cultural, socio-economic, and ethnic lines, which ultimately leads to increased social and self-awareness. Dean Blevins and Mark Maddix add that participation in small groups offers believers a sense of well-being, connectedness, and ownership of their life and faith formation. Accordingly, an atmosphere can be developed where issues can be discussed from across secular and non-secular perspectives, without the fear of judgment or rejection.
We can therefore note that from the early days of the Christian church to now, the active participation of believers in small fellowship groups has great potential to have a positive impact on their personal and social spiritual transformation. Moreover, an opportunity is provided for evangelism, and the spiritual transformation of participating non-believers.
 Peter Bunton, “300 Years of Small Groups—The European Church from Luther to Wesley,” Christian Education Journal: Research on Educational Ministry 11, no. 1 (May 2014): 88–106, https://doi.org/10.1177/073989131401100108.
 Dean G Blevins and Mark A Maddix, Discovering Discipleship : Dynamics of Christian Education (Kansas City, Mo.: Beacon Hill Press Of Kansas City, 2010). 239 Image Credit:
Miroshniche, Tima. People Sitting on Chair Inside Room. October 27, 2020. https://www.pexels.com/photo/people-sitting-on-chair-inside-room-5710951/.