I said yesterday that I have been apart of both types of small groups involved with a church.
But I have also been apart of small groups outside of the church. Yes, things do exist outside the church. I would say that small groups inside of the church are modeled off of small groups that were formed inside of a community that had nothing to do with a church. Let me explain after you click the button below to read more….
There are tons of books popping up about the church and where each and every practice that is found in the church involves some kind of pagan idea. This idea that the institutional church in America is really a product of the the American institution. It is hard to argue against these sentiments and books. I think small groups do not fall far from the influence of community in America.
Here is where I need the expert help. I have not done any extensive reading about small groups. I do not know how the originated or what the past looks like and the future of small groups. But I do feel like most things that Christians do (see christianchirp.com, the christian alternative to twitter) are a product of something else. The reason I say this is because I think church leaders realizes what a community of people who share something together can be. They understand how alive you feel inside of these groups and want people in the church to feel the same way.
I belong to a softball small group. A bunch of guys who still want to play baseball but add beer to the game. No we do not talk about existentialism or the idea of redemptive violence, but we do talk about life, about what is going on in the world, and a lot of making fun of each other. I am the youngest in this small group, probably by ten years. And yet these guys make me feel well “like one of the guys.” Softball has brought us together and has given us something to go after. We are in it together and we are sharing a lot of fun times, difficult times, and most importantly times that bring us closer together. What is amazing about softball small groups is that there are tons of them. It is like a huge community that meets up every Sunday night to play some ball, drink some beer, and hang out with friends. Everyone seems to know each other, people are very easy to talk with, and everyone is there to have a good time. It is a very unreal experience. I never understood this until I was involved with the small group. But it is amazing how open people are at the softball park.
You cannot reproduce community. It just will not work. People will see through it, they will not want to be apart of it. Take a lesson from my softball small group….community is had when a bunch of individuals come together as a team and work towards a common goal.
check out this comment from Jordan about small groups:
There is one blog post in particular by Vince Antonucci that has really steered us as we get our first 6 community groups off the ground this week.
We refer to these words often…
“When a group starts focused on mission, it will ultimately get fellowship – but flowing from mission and a sense of accomplishing something together. If you start a group for fellowship – seldom do you get anything beyond fellowship – if even that…”
“If we pursue friendship we can miss out on discipleship.
But if we pursue discipleship we will end up with the best kind of friendship.
If we pursue community we can miss out on a cause.
But if we pursue a cause we will end up with the best kind of community (cause-driven community).
If we pursue church we can miss out on Jesus.
But if we pursue Jesus we will end up with the best kind of church.”