Wednesday, January 16, 2008

How important are small groups?

It's Wednesday night, which is 'Girl's Small Group' night, and no one showed. One I talked to; she is sick. That's legit. But it gives me the chance to write about something that I was thinking today and over the last little while. Ironic, really, because it fits right in. I was wondering about the need for small groups, and how important they really are. This one at least has had me wondering for months. I believe that Christians need spiritual connections, usually on a deeper level than you can go on a Sunday morning, in order to be growing in their faith.

What you do on your own in private - quiet time, devotions, praying - whatever you do and whatever you want to call it, is very important if you don't want your faith to be stagnant.

Going to church, and being part of the community, is also very important to growing. The being part of the community is the key, not just the showing up.

And in between those two, the individuality of faith and the corporate togetherness of faith, is what I have to program. Good grief. Here's the dilemma. Not everyone fits into the programs we do. Each person's needs are different as far as how they connect with their spiritual friends. We have a Sunday night service, geared for young adults, that meets the need for corporate worship, learning and prayer (and of course fellowship, or hanging out) in a way that young adults would relate to more than a Sunday morning. It's designed to complement, not replace Sunday mornings. And we have small groups. One for young married couples, one for guys only, one open one, and one for the ladies. Which may not exist at this point next week.

I want people to gather together once or twice a week, whatever they feel they need, and then LIVE IT the rest of the week. Spend time with friends, at work, at school, and be Christ's representative in that situation. Or instead of going to Bible Study, why don't you browse over your sermon notes for a bit so what you learned really sinks in, then either go out and be in the world, or rest up so you can be at your best when you're with people again?

Just a thought. I'm not saying Bible Studies are bad. It's just going back to the idea that often we just feed ourselves and forget about sharing that life giving food with our friends. And I'm not saying stay away just to do nothing; stay away so you can be intentional about using that time for living! If I didn't have to be here wondering if anyone was going to show up, I could be living. I would be out for coffee catching up with someone, investing in them, or on a date with my husband, investing in my marriage... If there is interest, I will be happy to go with it, but if it's just a lesser option for a Wednesday night, I'd rather call it quits.

Hard to sell a job description that is solely going out for coffee... but the reality is, each individual has different needs for their spiritual growth. We're all at a different place, doing a different pace, and aiming for the same goal, but working from different angles. So I have to know each one and help them find what they need, and I have to offer these different programs so there's something to fill those needs. Challenging, satisfying, and yeah, a lot of coffees. I'm starting to feel like my role is more that of a Spiritual Director than anything. Well, that I'd like to be that. More fulfilling than a program coordinator.

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