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Miscellaneous Thoughts From my Current Read

I’m reading a book,¬†Deep Influence¬†by T. J. Addington. He’s very quotable, so that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

“The more developed one’s spiritual core, the greater one’s influence to impact our world in significant ways for a cause greater than themselves” [pg. 4].

“Think of those who have motivated you toward great things, who have brought out the very best in you. Was it their leadership skills or was it something about their character and vision that touched your life?” [pg. 6].

I confess those two quotes immediately made me think about small groups and how they are geared towards making those things happen. We get to know others who inspire us, learn from and grow with them, and then go out and make a difference in our world.

Facebook as a Virtue

Facebook can be a huge time waster. It can also breed arguments, reveal too much information, foster narcissism, and spread rumors at lightning speed, among other things.

But it’s not totally devoid of virtues. One of the things that I find to be a positive thing, though, is it gives us a window into people’s thinking. The things we’ll all say when sitting behind a computer screen never ceases to amaze me (apparently we forget what we’re saying is going out across the WORLD WIDE web).

I’ve seen a number of posts that are quite revealing, though. People who claim to be Christians will post things that clearly reveal their thinking is shaped by culture, not by their Christian beliefs. They’ll post, and also explicitly endorse, things that run completely counter to Christian doctrine.

So the question that haunts me is how do I become an effective agent of change? How do I help move people towards a biblical worldview? Or can I help? Am I kidding myself? Small groups are a positive step, but only a small one, and there clearly needs to be more.

I’m listening….

Bonding

Not exactly a direct hit on small groups, but the principle of bonding applies across the board (although clearly the specifics vary in different settings). Enjoy this article.

http://www.parenting.com/article/the-new-science-of-mother-baby-bonding

Drops in Attendance

It’s that time of year again–small group attendance frequently drops. Band concerts, sports events, end of school year events, etc., all seem to kick in and create scheduling conflicts.

I remind my small group leaders that if attendance is low, it’s probably not them. They’re not being abandoned by their group. They haven’t screwed up. The group isn’t falling apart.

We’ve done small groups for years, and this is a very common occurrence. So relax. If the group is smaller, enjoy the more focused conversation and the fellowship of a smaller number.

Easter Week

It’s Easter week–the greatest week of the year for Christians. On Friday we celebrate our purchase with Christ’s blood. On Sunday we celebrate the vindication of his claims and our future hope (a.k.a. Easter).

My small group (or one of them, anyway) is studying reasons for confidence in the resurrection, and there are a surprisingly large number of them. As Christians we can have complete confidence in the resurrection.

How cool is our faith?

Leading a Small Group-Qualifications

So I’m sometimes asked what qualifications are needed to lead a small group. The biggest qualification is a heart for people. Yep–that’s my number one priority. A heart for people. Of course a certain level of maturity is presupposed, and we want our leaders to be members of the church (since you’re doing ministry with the church, we want to know you’re committed and in agreement with our core doctrines). But I have personally never known a long-term successful small group leader that does not have a love for people.

If I had to choose between a knowledgeable, theologically savvy person with little passion for people, and a person who loves people but has not read as widely in theology, I’d choose the latter.

On Splitting Groups

Okay…I know “splitting” is not the right word. But let’s be honest, a rose is a rose is a rose. So in fact sometimes groups do need to split.

I prefer to avoid it if at all possible. Real, authentic discipleship takes time to develop. Community doesn’t happen overnight. Splitting groups can disrupt that. But sometimes it has to be done.

I am part of a group that has 26 members when everybody shows. Regularly there are over 20. The dynamics of the group are fabulous, which is rare with a group of that size. That’s why I have been hesitant to break it up. But at some point living rooms run out of space, and there are too many people to have significant dialogue. And the greatest crime of all–there are fewer cookies for me.

The upside with this particular instance? Even with the separation into two separate groups, I anticipate two great groups who now have room to grow. And more cookies for me.