A high level of shared interest and common experiences create a relational homogeniety.

G. Other forms of homogeniety exist that bridge racial and ethnic barriers and thereby create relational networks. A high level of shared interest and common experiences create a relational homogeniety. Ralph W. Neighbor used a homogeneity of interests to develop the “share group” approach.[1] In Neighbor’s strategy, cell groups develop out of relationships formed in the more socially oriented “share groups” which may be short or long term.

H. Malcolm Gladwell notes research that indicates that racial and ethnic barriers decrease when people are geographical neighbors.[2] This geographical bridge is the basis for evangelism at Yoido Full Gospel Church and is a new paradigm for Willow Creek Community Church.[3] Each person has a limited number of relatives and persons who share their hobbies; eventually the pool of existing relationships dries up. In a mobile society, however, new people are always moving into the old neighborhood and members of cell groups are always moving into new neighborhoods. The geographical approach consolidates influence of leaders in existing neighborhoods and extends influence into new neighborhood micro-mission fields. Each mature Christian thereby becomes the person of peace in his or her own neighborhood, and that influence builds continually. The neighborhood approach simply and literally fulfills the commandment of Jesus that each Christian love his or her geographical neighbor (Matthew 22:19). Ministry is decentralized from the neighborhood surrounding the institutional church to the neighborhood of each disciple.





[1] The quote is a selection from David O. Kueker’s Fuller Seminary Doctor of Ministry project submitted in September, 2007, entitled Diagnosis, Dialogue, and Decision: A Threefold Process of Revitalization For the Illinois Great Rivers Conference.
It is shared here in recognition of its 12th Anniversary along with comments to update and provide perspective on the material. The original project was a Training Manual/Study Guide of three Seminars supported by three chapters of research and an Introduction. The material is available for download at www.disciplewalk.com/Resources.html. In 2009 it was provided for purchase as a softcover book entitled Designing Discipleship Systems: Christian Disciple Making For Any Size Church, Any Theology through CreateSpace.com.

[2][3] [4][5] [6][7] [8]

All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Please review the page How and Why We Use Quotes.

[1]Neighbor, Where Do We Go, 105, 220-223, 281-290, 293-300.

[2]Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference (New York: Little, Brown & Co., 2002), 35.

[3]Willow Creek, under new teaching pastor Randy Frazee, is forming community in geographical neighborhoods. Susan DeLay, “Evangelism in 3-D,” WCA News, Issue 4, 2006, under http://www.willowcreek.com/wcanews/story.asp?id=WN01I42006 (accessed June 15, 2007). Cf. Randy Frazee and Ken Dean, Connecting Church, DVD, available from the Illinois Great Rivers Conference, United Media Resource Center (Item #1003018), www.intraweb.igrc.org/umrc (accessed June 18, 2007). Cf. Randy Frazee, Making Room for Life (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004).

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