New Research on Different Names, Titles, Terms and Expressions for Small Christian Communities (SCCs)

Paper No. 1 for Breakout Session on “One Hand Washes the Other: Sharing the Missionary Outreach of Small Christian Communities (SCCs) in Eastern Africa”

Mission Congress 2015

Theme: Witnessing Mission: Called to be Missionary Disciples”

1 – 4 October, 2015

Houston, Texas, USA


New Research on Different Names, Titles, Terms and Expressions for Small Christian Communities (SCCs)

A background paper for the “International Consultation on Rediscovering Community” at Notre Dame, Indiana, USA in December, 1991 compiled over 3,500 different names, titles, terms and expressions for Small Christian Communities (SCCs) worldwide. This year 2015 we have done new research and found the following names are most common worldwide to express the rich diversity of this new way of being church.

 It is presumed that these names refer to small apostolic groups, not just small groups. We purposely avoided the broader and more generic name “small groups” by itself that is used in so many different ways in North America today. We did not research the many types of Small Prayer Groups and Small Support Groups because they are outside the specific meaning and purpose of Small Christian Communities. Our research did not specifically treat the many names in other Christian Churches including the Evangelical and Pentecostal Churches. We did not have the opportunity to document some of the many names used in the fast growing Hispanic Catholic Churches. Small Christian Communities (SCCs) is an umbrella term used in this list and breakout session and is the most common name worldwide.

Small Christian Communities (SCCs).

Basic Christian Communities (BCCs).

Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs).

Base Communities (BCs).

Base Ecclesial Community (BEC). Sometimes written as Ecclesial Base Community (EBC).  In

Spanish: Comunidades Eclesiales de Base (CEBs). Sometimes written as Comunidades de Base.

Cell Groups (CGs).

Christian Base Communities (CBCs).

Communities of Faith (COFs). In Spanish: Comunidades de Fe (CDFs);

Grassroots Christian Communities (GCCs).

Neighborhood Gospel Groups (NGGs).

Living Base Ecclesial Communities (LBECs). Sometimes written as Basic Living Church Communities (BLCCs).

Living Christian Communities (LCCs).

Popular Christian Communities (PCCs).

Small Apostolic Groups (SAGs).

Small Base Communities (SBCs).

Small Bible Sharing Groups (SBSGs).

Small Bible Study Groups (SBSGs).

Small Christian Groups (SCGs).

Small Communities (SCs).

Small Church Communities (SCCs).

Small Ecclesial Communities (SECs).

Small Faith Communities (SFCs).

Small Faith Groups (SFGs).

Small Faith Sharing Groups (SFSGs).

Small Local Church Communities (SLCCs).

Small Neighborhood Communities (SNCs).

To show the rich diversity of names, meanings and experiences look at four of the best dioceses in the USA for developing a SCC model of church. The Archdiocese of Hartford, Connecticut and the Diocese of Erie, Pennsylvania use Small Church Communities (SCCs). The Diocese of San Bernardino, California uses Small Faith Communities (SFCs). The Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida uses Small Christian Communities.

For more information see the:

“Select Annotated Bibliography of Books, Booklets, Articles, Reports, Papers and Printed Materials and Other Resources” (309 entries) and

“APPENDIX: Online Resource Materials on the On-going Formation and Training of SCC Members” (24 resources)

in the free, online Ebook Building the Church as Family of God: Evaluation of Small Christian Communities in Eastern Africa on the

Small Christian Communities Global Collaborative Website and Small Christian Communities Facebook Page:

Prepared by:

Rev. Joseph G. Healey, MM
Maryknoll Society
P.O. Box 43058
00100 Nairobi, Kenya

0723-362-993 (Safaricom, Kenya)

973-216-4997 (AT&T, USA)

Skype: joseph-healey