A BEYOND team member reports: “Less than a week ago, I returned from a training in a large East Asian country. The 16 trainees were leaders of various discovery bible groups started over the past year.

Previously, they belonged to a growing church in the city. They had recently come to a startling revelation: the more their church grew numerically, the fewer disciples they had been making. Their focus on excellent preaching had failed to produce real lifestyle changes in their members. Additionally, they found as the church grew, they had fewer new believers attending. Their desire to grow numerically was actually making them less effective as a church.

In a bold move, the church leaders decided to once again meet in small groups. They trained their leaders in the discovery bible group process and ensured that all their members attended a small group. Shortly after they made this decision, government officials demanded they shut down their large Sunday meeting. A few months previous, this decision could have been disastrous, but these leaders saw God’s hand in the timing of these events. They decided that it was God’s will. They would not seek another meeting place for their large meeting.  Instead, they would continue with the new discovery study groups, as house churches.”

Pray that God will continue to equip leaders like these as they regroup to examine the real purpose of the church. Is it to grow the church in numbers or to develop disciples who develop other disciples?