What about small groups?
I’ve been pondering the present struggles of small groups. It seems like people know they are essential, but aren’t sure why or how…
What used to work in small groups doesn’t seem to anymore. I remember meeting one night a week for 2-3 hours. Then our first-born son was part of our group, crawling around the room, people distracted, and loving on him. They didn’t even complain that we were aware of (they kept coming back). Wow, those days are long gone…
Then groups were revived with a focus on purpose and mission – discovering God’s purpose for your life, and then adopting a need and taking care of it together. Great friendships developed in the context of serving.
Recently a friend voiced “I need to be back in a small group.” They said small group was the place of greatest growth in their life and they were spiritually dying without it. The biggest obstacles in their mind were scheduling conflicts, busyness and being with the right people (or “wrong people” as the case may be).
It seems the best groups have a sense of clear purpose, and it always involves being outwardly focused. That can be in the form of prayer/worship (God-focused), or service/mission (other-focused).
Small groups can probably take many different approaches and be successful.
And it always helps to look back to the model of Jesus for inspiration and direction…
So what was Jesus’ small group all about?
1. Deeper relationship?
Nope, this was a by-product of being together all the time (and working through their junk).
2. Ministering to each other?
Nope, a by-product of being with Jesus and being on His mission.
3. Growing in knowledge?
Not the point, but a result of following Jesus.
4. Social justice?
Another by-product of being with Jesus but the description falls short.
5. Bible study?
Closer still, but they were more about “Bible doing” over study. Jesus would teach, explain and model — “show and tell” if you will. Then He sent them out to do the same.
The small group of Jesus was about God’s kingdom breaking in to the present evil age.
They were joining Him in His mission to change the world by bringing Good News in every way!
In the name of Jesus people were fed, healed, delivered and reconciled to God. That is Good News!
Is there anything more exciting than that??? What would it look like in this day and age? In the context of smaller group relationship with others? During your week?
Definitely worth taking some time to pray, reflect and discuss with others… and try!! Maybe Jesus will give us just what we need if we ask Him.