Over the last 40 years the use of small groups for building community and fostering spiritual growth has gained wide acceptance across North American churches of all sizes and theological persuasions. Indeed, the rapid growth of group life in churches has led observers to refer to the phenomenon as the “small group movement” in church ministry. As the movement grew, a logical question arose: Are groups effective in making disciples and, if so, to what extent? Beginning with Robert Wuthnow’s work in the 1990s, this article will discuss findings from key research efforts conducted with participants of church-based groups, assess the current state of the small group movement, and offer observations concerning the direction and focus of the movement for the years ahead.
KeyWords: small group movement, community, spiritual growth, cell groups