When the Bible says “they will know we are Christians by our love for one another,” it means that others will see how we minister to one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. A parish provides one of the most effective avenues for followers of Jesus to care for one another. And without small group ministry, a parish can easily become a place for theoretical faith without the practice of it in community.
Community is essential for people to become disciples of Christ, the kind who will go out and tell others about Him. This is the essence of the Great Commission, and it begins, and is ultimately manifest, in intimate relationships between people – small groups.
None of this is a fad, and it’s certainly not un-Catholic. The early Church was made up of people who, in addition to worshiping God in the Mass and Sacraments, lived in small groups and ministered to one another. Today, many Catholics who have left the Church cite their attraction to small group communities that they encounter in evangelical churches. It is time for Catholic parishes to help its parishioners rediscover the beauty and importance of small group discipleship.