I'm starting a new small group soon. Having been involved in leading small groups for a dozen years, I've missed it since we brought our Crossroads group to a close in July when the store closed. It's been 3 months now since I've connected in a meaningful way with the same group of people on a weekly basis and that creates a void that leaves me empty because you and I are made for community.
I was first introduced to small groups in 1996 while I was attending a week-long workshop in Colorado. The leader of the workshop explained to us that he would not join the rest of us one night for dinner because his small group met each week on that night. He had been traveling the previous week and missed the group meeting and his group had all made a commitment not to miss two consecutive meetings. I was intrigued by this commitment and later questioned him about it, learning more about his small group and their purpose. His group was comprised of about 10 people who met weekly to study the Bible, pray and share life together. They had developed a covenant that outlined the ground rules of the group (built around transparency, trust, confidentiality, accountability, and commitment) and had been together for more than five years.
I shared some of my philosophy about small groups in an earlier post and hope to apply those to this new group. Home-based small group Bible studies are an ideal way to build meaningful community. It's a place where the Church does life together but each group is unique and therefore the dynamics of that group will be unique. I'm a fan of diverse small groups, those whose members are different ages, marital status, etc. There's certainly something to be said for affinity groups, as well but I've found that growth occurs easily in groups where we don't all come to the table with similar life experiences and perspectives.
How about you? In what ways have you grown through your own small group experiences?