It wasn't great because the Dove flew through the room, or we all shared our deepest, darkest secrets. It was great because our fledgling group (now 3 weeks old), took the time to share our stories. We're all in our thirties, all have kids, are all Christians, and go to the same church. But, the similarities begin to wear thin at that point.
Some were raised in the church, some are recent converts. Some have gone through a divorce, some have wandered away from the Lord and recently returned. We have a pilot, 3 bankers, a financial manager, a minister, a pre-school operator, a copy-editor, and a personal trainer. If we all walked into a bar, it would make a great beginning to a bad joke.
But, tonight was great, because we all simply shared our stories–of how we came to Christ, of what we like to do for fun…and anything else that was relevant. We also shared things that weren't remotely relevant…and that was OK, too.
And, it was great. It was great because of the profundity of sharing stories. They were all simple stories. But that was what made them great.
I've been a part of some bad small groups, and some awesome groups as well. The difference has been relational chemistry in the group. Sometimes it's immediate. Sometimes it takes time. In some cases, it never comes.
Groups have been on my mind a lot lately…spawned by my attending the Sticky Church conference at North Coast Church in Vista. At times I've thought they were absolutely essential to healthy church ministry. Other times, I've seen them as an accessory of sorts. Right now, I'm definitely feeling the need to explore the subject again. I have a theory about why the importance of small groups may in fact vary from church to church, and season to season…but that's for another post.
Here's the question of the day… how important are small groups to you personally, and to the church?