I’ve never really understood the concept of small groups in a church. I understand what they are, I just don’t understand the belief that they are so utterly necessary that churches spend vast amounts of energy trying to create them. It may just be my desire for privacy, coupled with a touch of social anxiety disorder that makes the idea so distasteful, but I have gone to great lengths to avoid them throughout my adult life.
If you’re among those who have never crossed the threshold of a church, it’s likely that you may not even know what I’m talking about. If however, you’re a regular attendee of some local congregation, it’s almost certain that you know exactly what they are – or even had to dodge invitations to join one!
For the uninitiated, a small group is a gathering of a dozen or so people outside of regular weekly church services. They can be hosted at the church or else at the house of one or more of the members. They typically involve the sharing of personal struggles or needs, after which a round-robin prayer session takes place where each person prays out loud for those issues. Sometimes there’s food involved (no doubt to sugarcoat the experience). If you don’t participate fully in the exercise, it can be quite uncomfortable. Don’t even think of being a silent attendee – you’ll be made to look and feel very much out-of-place.
A Biblical mandate for such gatherings can be found in tortured interpretations of passages that encourage corporate assemblies, though contexts can certainly be debated. Nonetheless, many churches feel the need for them Continue reading