Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Kill It - Kill It Dead
Pastor Brian Jones tells of the response he got from one 'nationally recognized' pastor when Brian told him that he hadn't figured out the whole small group thing yet. Brian said the pastor's response was something like this:I have to agree, being careful to point out that "90%" condition on the sentiment.
“Well, Brian, that’s because they don’t work. Small groups are things that trick us into believing we’re serious about making disciples. The problem is 90 percent of small groups never produce one single disciple. Ever. They help Christians make shallow friendships, for sure. They’re great at helping Christians feel a tenuous connection to their local church, and they do a bang-up job of teaching Christians how to act like other Christians in the Evangelical Christian subculture. But when it comes to creating the kind of holistic disciples Jesus envisioned, the jury’s decision came back a long time ago—small groups just aren’t working.”
Small groups are usually really about connectedness to the church - and frankly, if we are brutally honest with ourselves, that's the reason we push them so hard. (growth, growth, growth, growth...spammity spam, wonderful spam - er, excuse me.) They tend to be self-help groups which is something very different than spiritual development, which has very little to do with the word "self." What I really don't understand is how they work when there is no one in the group of a much higher maturity level than the others. That is to say - no real leader.
See, spiritual development is about mentoring; it's a one-on-one thing. Not to mention it is a HUGE commitment. We keep designing church-lite - something that does not demand too much of the congregants, else they be "scared away."
I keep coming back to the same thought - Christ demanded EVERYTHING from His apostles, and they gave it. He was NOT scary.
The problem is us, we have not figured out Christ-likeness yet.