Dear Church Family and Friends,
Last week, I answered the question about when small groups might meet, and I said that they could meet at any time the SG leader chose, as long as it didn’t conflict with the church’s regular schedule. I answered the question in terms of hours and days, but I need to give a second answer in terms of weeks, months, and seasons.
Our lives are seasonal – that is, our schedules fluctuate from calm to crazy busy. Now, if we allow this to interrupt the weekly rhythm of worshipping together with the church every Sunday, then we may have a problem with our priorities. However, SGs operate a little differently. They are built on relationships with trust and openness within a definite group of people, something that would be difficult if no one knew from week to week who might be there. Because of this, SG members would be expected to commit themselves to the group, but because of the seasonal nature of our lives, that commitment might only be possible for a fixed period of time. This means that SGs would have both a beginning and an end, start and finish dates.
Instead of running perpetually, like the church’s Sunday meetings, SGs could start on a fixed date and finish some 12 or 13 weeks later. This amount of time is ample to allow relationships to form, the group to gel together, and real spiritual growth to take place. Of course, it would mean that a SG member should plan to attend the vast majority of meetings (shift workers would just have to do the best they can), but it would allow a week or two at the beginning for a person to “try out” a group before committing to it for the duration. The finish date would create a natural “off ramp” for those who wanted to try a different group or even take a break for a time. Hopefully, all of this would mean that those who could not commit to something for a long time would still enjoy the benefits of SGs.
Summers are crazy for everyone and probably wouldn’t be a good time to start a SG. However, August, with kids “back to school” and football kicking off, provides a great opportunity for a new beginning. Maybe even this coming August! Tell me what you think. Is this something you would enjoy or at least interested in learning more about? I look forward to hearing from you!