Holistic small groups are disciple-making communities which endeavor to reach the unchurched, meet individual needs, develop each person according to their God-given gifts and raise leaders to sustain the growth of the church. Like healthy body cells, holistic small groups are designed to grow and multiply.
Research has shown that continuous multiplication of small groups is a universal church growth principle. It has also shown what life in these small groups should be like if they are to have a positive effect on both quality and numerical growth within a church. They must be holistic groups which go beyond just discussing Bible passages to applying its message to daily life. In these groups, members are able to bring up those issues and questions that are immediate personal concerns.
Holistic small groups are the natural place for Christians to learn to serve others— both inside and outside the group—with their spiritual gifts. The planned multiplication of small groups is made possible through the continual development of leaders as a by-product of the normal group-life. The meaning of the term "discipleship" becomes practical in the context of holistic small groups: the transfer of life, not rote learning of abstract concepts.
The NCD Survey measures:
- Atmosphere of transparency, sharing, and trust
- Spiritually oriented
- Meeting felt needs
- Relevance to daily life
- Guest sensitive
- Multiplication of disciples, leaders, and groups
- Active participation of group members