Counting Movements 2: Relationships

When movements are very small – that is, they are five generations or smaller in size – they can be fairly easy to count. You can even track the generations on a big piece of paper or a computer spreadsheet.

A simplistic diagram might look like:


Now, in reality, if I saw a movement diagrammed out like this, I’d be suspicious – it’s “too perfect.” Movements are messy and are very rarely (and only randomly) exactly like this. Nevertheless, this illustrates the point: a set of churches can be diagrammed on a page. Globally, the average is about 15 to 18 per group; so we could round to 20 and say this diagram represents between 250 and 300 people.

We can know a lot about this group: the names of the leaders of the groups, the locations of the groups, when they meet, and so on. It’s not likely we’d know all the people in the group–once you get past 150, it’s not easy to hold that kind of information in one’s head–but it is possible to track this on a regular basis. This kind of graph can also be the ‘nucleus’ of a larger movement: that is, movements are made up of smaller “4 generation” collections.

We can track these “families” within larger extended families; any single individual within the “family” can easily describe his family using five relationships: