Lori and I are currently in a 12 week group hosted by a local church leader…
Is there anyone who wouldn’t want to regularly meet with a few others who are curious about you and your story; are pursuing God passionately; who listen well, love courageously, and are willing to get messy offering their beauty and strength in humility/grace?
I think that’s a bit of what God intended for “small groups”. Yet what has your experience of small groups been over the years?
For most of the 36 years I’ve been a follower of Christ I’ve been in some form of a “small group”.* Some were mythic in effect, texture, and draw. God came… we saw Him in each other, called Him out…we were different. Many, too many other groups were “stinkers”.
Some end by design, others end with a bang, some with a whimper… some never end… they just go on and on and on and on.
We ache for a community that’s elusive… we ache because we were designed for it, and to go without it is, in the spiritual realm, like going without water.
It’s hard to find.
It’s real easy to give up.
It’s easy to sit through a small group passively… it’s really not what we’re looking for but we don’t want to rock the boat, rain on someone else’s parade… be critical… and as the weeks drag on our hearts, while circled by “friends”, are parched thirsting for a life Christ directs us to community to find. And after the adrenaline wears off, hope retreats, and the enormous energy to make this group work fades you find yourself in that familiar place… comfortably numb.
“It is a tragedy to live in un-spiritual community. It is an even greater tragedy to live in un-spiritual community and be satisfied and to think that it is spiritual. There are many Christians relating in ways that only marginally require the Spirit, and who aspire to nothing more.” – Larry Crabb
We can’t live in this Story alone. Nor can we pretend to be satisfied by that which doesn’t. Don’t “settle” nor be arrogant. Don’t rage against the program, pastor… nor be passive. Give no place to cynicism. Stay alive! Keep desire alive!
(Do you get the sense of my current personal battle?)
Cry out to God. Pray; find a few to meet with…gather… just be yourself; worship; offer; listen, love, love, love… fight for the life you yearn.
And Christ will come!
For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."- Matthew 18
- Craig McConnell
*Some groups were limited to select members, others random groups of people, we’ve been in loosey-goosey-sloppy-agape groups, new member/believer/married…, parenting, parenting teens, marriage, stewardship, The Serious Study of the Word of God Group (one of my favorites… you know what Paul meant in Romans 8:1 but you can’t name 4 people in the group), sit in circles and share (you know this group right? You can see the broken marriages, abuse, wounds, addictions, shame and you spend the evening going around the circle answering the question, “My favorite dessert is_______”), support groups, evangelistic groups, seeker friendly groups, therapy groups… all sizes, shapes… experiences. And even in the “stinkers” God comes for me; exposing, speaking, loving, directing!