"A small Christian community is a face-to-face gathering of six to twelve people who invest time with one another for the common purpose of applying Gospel values to every aspect of their lives."

                                                                                                       -Small Christian Communities: A Vision of Hope for the 21st Century

Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

                                                                                                                                                                  Matthew 18:20

The call to gather in prayer and pray for personal and communal needs comes from Jesus himself. His desire was that the disciples in his age and beyond would come together in his name so to fulfill his mission of spreading the good news and baptizing all in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

There Are Many Names for Small Christian Communities

Small communities may be referred to by the following names: Small Christian Community (SCC), Small Faith Community (SFC), Small Church Community, Faith Reflection Group, Base or Basic Community, Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC), and Comunidades Eclesiales de Base in Spanish.

Parish-based Small Christian Communities

While there are many forms of Small Christian Communities (SCCs) in North America, and indeed throughout the world today, parish-based small communities are the most numerous. The following is an overview of what they are and what they do.


In the Acts of the Apostles we hear

They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, and to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers.  Awe came upon everyone, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one’s need. Acts 2:42-45

This description of the early Christian communities serve as the model for church today. The early Christian communities were small.

People gathered in homes to remember the words and stories of Jesus, to break the bread and drink the cup in imitation of him, find support and strength with each other to be disciples, and to pass on the faith to their children and those who hungered for the word of God. 

Before the actual church as we know it today was formed, these small communities in synagogues, neighborhoods and families were the church of Christ. Even today, we recognize them as units of church – the community gathered in the name of Christ. We typically refer to them as Small Christian Communities or SCCs.