Thursday, February 04, 2010
Been There, Seen This
- They become a gossip group.
- They become a one-man show.
- They become a place to complain about the church.
- They become a place for crazy people to take over.
- They become an end in themselves.
As my title to this post implies, I think I have been in a small group somewhere that embodies each of those problems. I just want to make a couple of comments, one about small groups generally and one about that last "landmine."
Small groups are often just a way to try and make that which is inherently not intimate, appear intimate. In the end, one of the very important things about being Christians is to grow intimate with Jesus Christ. That means, I believe, that we must learn how to be intimate with each other so we can learn how to be intimate with Jesus. And since churches these day tend to be more about "the show" (excuse me "Worship") than anything else, intimacy is not high on the list of things happening in the church. So, staffs throw small groups into the mix as a way to create the appearance of intimacy in the church, but not having to be bothered with it themselves.
Now, no pastor can be intimate with the entire congregation, except in a church too small to actually support a pastor's salary. However, if pastors are not modeling, in a way apparent to the entire congregation, intimacy in their own lives forget it - small groups will never work.
Frankly, it is the appendage nature of most small group ministries that results in the problems listed here. If they are not tended and shaped and worked at very hard, they become precisely the problems these "landmines" illustrate.
And the last "landmine" is the strongest indicator of that. People want intimacy at the deepest levels, and they want to discover levels they did not know they had - levels only intimacy with Christ can reveal. That is why they tend to become ends unto themselves.
Churches need to learn intimacy in so many ways or small groups will continue to "go wrong."