I love small groups in the context of Christian relationships. Of all the activities I enjoy the most, small groups are definitely at the top. One-on-one relationships are very frustrating to me and even the most basic of conversations are challenging. However, I adore the atmosphere of a 5-10 person group with both women and men. I absorb the experiences of others, and at times I am able to contribute.
But, after years of struggling to consistently stay involved in small groups, I have had to accept that they are not the answer to evangelical Christianity’s problems. There are far too many obstacles to keep small groups going. Life’s events and struggles seem always to get in the way.
– A young couple has a baby who now takes over their entire life. Attending a small group regularly is now very challenging
– Job schedules and travel schedules prevent consistent attendance
– Medical problems, or caring for a family member, gets in the way
– Marital and family problems make involvement in a group challenging
– Interpersonal conflict within the group can cause struggles
– Group has widely differing interests, with some members or leaders determined to do “How to manage your money” or some other highly marketed book or video series
– Fatigue or depression causes individuals to loose desire for group
It always seems that at the same time I have a life crisis, the small group I am involved with collapses or goes through a major change. The same is true even now. My life is stressful, and my group isn’t going to work out for a while. I will seek out another, but it will take time to find, and new relationships take time. Meanwhile my life crisis will continue.
It is times like these I remember I must be content with communion and my own walk with the Lord.