Korporatiewe spiritualiteit en kleingroepleierskap
Oostenbrink, Johann Wilhelm
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In this study the potential of small group leadership to facilitate corporate spirituality is examined. Postmodern man longs for supernatural experience and relational intimacy with fellow human beings. It seems that reformed churches should redirect their strategies of ministry to simultaneously build God's people in the image of Christ and meet their deeply felt spiritual needs. The term spirituality refers to the subjective or experiential dimension of religion. Reformed spirituality has often been expressed as praxis pietatis. It indicates that Christians live in the presence of God (coram Deo), in living fellowship with Him and fellow believers and as living witnesses of Christ in this world. According to the Scriptures Christian spirituality should be practiced and experienced corporately as well as individually. Corporate spirituality focuses on the fellowship which believers enjoy with each other as a dimension of spirituality as well as an important context wherein spirituality can (and must) be practiced. The congregational small group is seen as a complete - a community of faith within the bigger unit of the local church. In the small group as a community of faith, spirituality can be practiced in the context of intimate relationships. Although there are dangers which can obstruct healthy spirituality, small group dynamics provide unique opportunities and are useful forces to facilitate corporate spirituality in a unique way. The small group leader should know and be taught how to use small group dynamics and facilitate corporate spirituality in the small group. Small group leadership is spiritual leadership with the explicit purpose of helping the small group members, firstly corporately and secondly individually, to live in the presence of God (coram Deo). The effectiveness of the small group leader is largely determined not by what he does but by what he is. The small group leader's identity as servant-shepherd, his Christian character, his style of leadership and his personal spirituality is of great importance. What he does should flow from what he is coram Deo. The relationship between corporate spirituality in the local church and the spirituality of its small groups should be reciprocal. Congregational strategies of ministry should, therefore, enhance corporate spirituality in the small groups. To support and motivate the small group leaders in their task of facilitating healthy spirituality in the small groups, there should be an overall congregational strategy and structure which provides spiritual care and help to them. In reformed churches small group leadership should be integrated in the presbyterial system of church government as a ministry under the oversight and care of the elders.
- Theology