In the story, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the Grinch believes the true meaning of Christmas is presents. Believing this, he steals all the Christmas presents from the unsuspecting Whos in Whoville to stop Christmas from coming. But, Christmas morning he finds all the whos singining their hearts out and realizes that Christmas had nothing to do with presents- it meant so much more.
Like the Grinch, I’m coming to realize that small groups mean so much more than what I thought they meant. You see, this spring semester we’ve had a few groups who haven’t had as many people as they wish they had. I’ve been thinking a lot about these groups (and their amazing leaders) to figure out what we can learn, why it happens, and what to do about it in the future. In this reflection process I’ve coming to a startling conclusion. I’ve had the wrong focus when it comes to small groups. I’ve incorrectly believed that our ultimate goal was to create groups full of people. Now, that’s not a bad thing to want, but it’s not the full picture.
Really, more than anything else- everything we do in the area of groups is about helping people grow in their faith. Just being in or leading a group isn’t the goal. Growing in your faith is the goal. More than I want people to be in or lead a group, I want them to grow to become a little bit more like Jesus. Attending a small group is a tool (and a very helpful one I believe), but it’s not the end goal.
If you lead a small group, I hope you find the true meaning of small group today. It’s not about the dinners, games, baby-sitting, or lessons. It’s all about becoming more like Jesus. Are you allowing Jesus to form you to become more like Him through the process of leading, or are you solely focused on making your group happen.
Here’s a few questions to ask yourself:
- Am I listening to what God is trying to say to me in my life?
- Have I been so focused on “making group happen” that I’ve lost sight of why I lead in the first place?
- Are there any areas God has been trying to work on in my life?
- How is God trying to grow the faith of the people in my small group? (note: God often grows us through challenge.)
I hope you find the true meaning of small group this week.