The Ultimate Small Group – Part 3

In parts 1 & 2 we identified the first two elements of the typical small group as attend and listen.

The third element of the typical small group is that group members just leave when the group is over. The group has spent some time praying together and even had some chips or cookies, but when the group is over for the night, it’s over– until the next group two or three or even four weeks later.

People leave with little or no thought of contacting one another outside of the next group meeting.

No one makes plans to have coffee together,

or to help with a project around the house,

or to join forces for a ministry together.

They just leave.

The next time they meet there is polite conversation about how busy everyone’s life has been lately and they may even ask for follow-up on someone’s health concern that you prayed about at the last group meeting. But no one – not even the leader – called that person between groups or even dropped a note of encouragement to them. And most group members totally forgot to pray for them since the last meeting.

But why would they?

They are a typical group where group members attend, listen, and leave. They’ve done everything that’s expected of them. And they have become quite proficient at it.

Doesn’t sound like the type of group that you want to be part of? Me either. Unfortunately, I’ve been part of a bunch of groups just like that.  I’ve even led groups like that.  What a waste!  A big part of the reason that typical small groups exist is that we have bought in to the lie in the church that we cannot have higher expectations for our people. We’re afraid that if we ask or challenge too much that people will leave. The truth is that some will. But the trade-off is that we end up with a church of underdeveloped, unchallenged Christ-followers that are doing almost nothing to make an impact in their families, marriages, or communities with the Gospel. That has to change. And to that end I have identified three elements of what I believe to be the ideal small group that I’ll be writing on in future posts.

I want to hear from you. Have you had experiences with typical small groups? What was the end result? How long did you attend this group? Are you in a typical group right now? I look forward to hearing from you.

1 thought on “The Ultimate Small Group – Part 3

  1. Dave Moorhead

    First, Joe, thanks for your kind comment on my “birthday post!”

    Now you have me hooked and Secondchair is going into my “favorites” listing. Being a church planter, I realize that small groups are critical to the growth of community and discipleship. Unfortunately, I have had all of the same bad experiences with small groups which you describe.

    My wife, Mia, points out that people are so caught up in their own lives that they don’t even think about the lives of others in their group. A second symptom seems to be a lack of “need.” When people have no sense of “need” they rarely reach out to others or even notice the needs of others. Sadly, earthly success tends to outweigh any sense of spiritual need and so the effort to build relationships proves to be too costly.

    What do YOU think?

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