This past year provided a new opportunity for me (and also my wife) to participate in a small group. We did a couples’ group on a week night, and I did a men’s group over lunch every Friday. These are my observations from the inside. There’s nothing here that hasn’t been said about small groups before – just my observations.
- Small groups can’t happen when schedules get too full. A busy church calendar is not particularly helpful in growing people spiritually.
- Small groups need to be extroverted rather than introverted in focus. Our weeknight group doubled over the course of the year. By the end we were getting almost too big, but with every couple that joined us we all were benefitted. Also, our group partnered with the local mission to do a small group with their residents. An awesome experience! Extroversion is good.
- Small groups allow for interaction with the Word. On Sundays we just sit and soak it in – but we never have to respond to anything. In a small group you can talk it out – and then it seems to make its way into life.
- Reality happens in small groups. We tend to lose our “church faces” and be more transparent. And in the process we tend to find support rather than judgment – because each of us can admit that we’re not perfect and that we have struggles.
- Spiritual growth happens in small groups. It just does.
- Anything that gets people into the Word is good. Sometimes our conversations weren’t all that great – but when everyone came prepared, you knew that people had already been benefitted.
- Small groups create friendships (though you may have to be patient as it takes time), and create opportunities for people to care about each other. Most of us want to help others, but we don’t know the needs or see the opportunity. We could pray about unsold houses and help when a premature baby arrived. For Kelly and me personally – it was the stream of meals that came our way when we faced a difficult time.
- Small groups beat church programs. They tend to be process oriented – and that means that they take you someplace. For our group it took us to the place of genuine community and spiritual growth.
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