The first element in the typical small group is to attend. (see previous post.)
The second element of a typical small group is to listen. In this situation the leader dominates the group, usually presenting a well-prepared lesson filled with well-researched and theologically correct positions.
You will undoubtedly learn more information about the bible text you are studying. That’s not bad – in fact it is good – as far as it goes. If the expectation here is that you just listen,then you will never really grapple with the text yourself. You miss the opportunity to wrestle with what the Holy Spirit may be saying to you through God’s Word with the help and insight of others in the group.
The typical small group becomes a bible study class devoid of life-giving personal interaction. Most of us don’t need another bible study or meeting in our schedules. We’ve already filled those spaces in our schedules with men’s or women’s Bible study, sunday school class, BSF, etc. So with that area covered why would we want to add another event that feeds our need for knowledge but doesn’t fill our need for relationship?
And so the typical church with typical small groups ends up with a pretty low percentage of the adults attending and listening in a handful of small groups that never really grows to become a central component of the ministry of the church.
How do you make sure that your small group members do more than just listen?
Tomorrow – Part 3.