There a couple reasons why I believe that small groups are extremely important. I have a small at the moment that is extremely different from previous small groups I’ve had in the past. What I find to be fundamentals in what should be in a small group are the very things I’m trying to accomplish with this group.
Students need to feel connected. I think we do a good job of this, but it is a never-ending process. At the moment the transparency of each guy in the group is vastly different from each other. They understand the value of community, but are still very much cautious in sharing their most deepest darkest secrets and sin issues. They expose them in a high-context sort of way, but never directly “I have a problem with __________!” The value of trust is something they see (at least with me), but still by default are cautious with each other. Community needs to be transparent to be successful. Paul talks about bearing each other burdens (Gal. 6:2), and I see the perfect value in this. I pray that my guys will as well. Every week I see there faces covered with conviction and wanting to expose that they struggle with. I hope one day (soon) they will be moved to share the burden.
Community is also a presence. Just as being real with each other, knowing that you have someone you can talk with (anytime) is being intentional and relational. My guys know that they can call anytime with issues, and even though I get phone calls at 11pm or later, my presence is still there. Just as Christ is ever present in our lives, we are to example this same principle within each others lives, though we are limited to a temporal realm, as Christ is omi-present.
If we break it down…we can’t mature without it! It is my constitution that God’s word is not limited to physical objects (books) but in the living dynamic of his divine story. My small group takes this seriously whether they like it not. Sure we wrestle, chat, eat pizza, but it’s about study and dedication to scripture. We look at the context, dissect word by word, line by line. Imagine bible CSI type guys reading, looking at maps, pouring over old books on theology. We exerget the passages till we understand or begin to focus on what God wants us to learn. My guys need to be biblical literate!!!
More than just reading and mediating on God’s word, my prayer is that my guys will desire to do this on their own. I know that they are junior high boys, so the notion that they are in their rooms diligently pouring over God’s word is sometimes too much to ask for, though I have faith that they do…to a certain degree. Personal study is important just as community.
You may be thinking what does billboards have to do with small groups? Everything!!! Community is not exclusive in the Kingdom of God in which we only socialize with other believers. I want my guys (all of my students for that matter) to be billboards. Represent who they love and follow. I feel that small groups helps cultivate this idea. It’s evangelism with a different name. I’m not trying to re-invent that wheel, but putting a different spin on it (pun intended). We are to be examples, that people would be drawn to. Only that the element that they are drawn to is Christ.
are you part of community…?