Two basic dimensions of small Christian communities
The primary dimension of the SCC is the “gathered” which is the psychological understanding of the community. The second dimension is the “sent” which has a sociological understanding of the community.
Gathered (Inner Life):
The members come together on regular basis for prayer, reflection on the word of God and putting their experiences into the Word, deepen their catechesis through a sharing of faith tenets, evaluate their journey of faith together as a small Christian community and of course from their baptismal calling they renew their future commitment.
When people gather the following things happen:
1. There is a conversation between individuals and the group as a whole. This conversation takes place within the environment of It is good to note that when people meet they bring with them different attitudes and personalities which can be a blessing and a gift if they are utilized well and wisely to enhance their conversation. This conversation eventually happens throughout the parish with other groups and the parish becomes a communicating parish.
Communication is a vital tool to grow the parish if it’s done in the right ways. If every Christian perceives it to be his/her call to communicate what really God intends, and what builds the parish community then a dialogue of love, trust, faith, and truth happens. The values of love, trust, truth, and faith are promoted more intensely through the regular small Christian community meetings and their prayers.
2. The psychological understanding of the community takes place. That is, a sense of interdependence with others, willingness to maintain this interdependence by giving to or doing for others what one expects from them. There is a feeling that one is part of a dependable and stable structure. The ingredients of the psychological sense of community are knowledge of whether you need the community or not, conflicts appearance, and how these conflicts bring progress than retrogressive impact, influence from the external events, and self-definition as a group. Small Christian communities gather in mutuality and this is their primary aspect in their “inner Life”. The work/responsibilities of the leaders/ministers in the small Christian communities are to keep that inner life/gathered aspect of the SCC animated.
Sent (Public Life):
This is the task dimension of the small Christian community in relation to the larger social world. The capacity of the members to reach out to others through social action is the sent dimension of SCCs. For example, we know that creation is good and that God has entrusted us with the power to care for his creation for our sustenance and well being. Therefore members seek to know which action they can carry together as a small Christian community to improve their environment.
This is also the public life of the SCCs which make their mission into the world a witness and an invitation to conversion. The members have to know that they have a mission of EVANGELIZATION by using any means possible to tell the story of Jesus in a convincing manner and in new ways than it has been done before. They have to evangelize culture, families, workplace, friendships, and the church itself. We are sent on works of charity. We are to explore our gifts for the service of others, we are to embrace the spiritual works of mercy and the corporal works of mercy. Here true Christians use all their energies and gifts for EVANGELIZATION.
Here the focus on justice issues and the existing structures that are functioning and are dysfunctional is a subject of consideration. The mission to justice, peace, and reconciliation become our expression of the prophetic role rooted in our baptism and strengthened by confirmation.
Taking faith in the lived world is the mission of the SCCs and especially in the present world where faith seems to dim with scientific and technological advances.