Really, what can happen when a collection of 10-15 people meet just once a week? What can you expect to be done in the course of two or so hours, often with dinner and kids squeezed into the mix?
After six years of overseeing small groups at Warehouse 242, I continue to ask this question. I ask, and keep asking, not out of growing skepticism of small group’s worth, but out of increased curiosity…and hope.
And, I’m curious what do you expect to happen in your small groups? As you look at your community as a whole, what particular purposes are your small groups designed to fulfill? If someone in your church isn’t in a small group will they likely experience angst? Will there be a dissonance between what you say your community is about and what they actually experience if they’re not in a group?
Each of our small groups at Warehouse has its own ethos and rhythms. Some groups include hoards of children and others are mainly twenty-something singles, most of our groups are simply a mélange. However, we desire each group to be marked by three values: community, spiritual growth and service. We see small groups as a vital space for these core church values to be lived out. One of our on-going questions has been: are small groups the primary place of community, spiritual growth and service to be lived out?
If people are going to feel relationally known, if they’re going to be spiritual formed, if they are to experience meaningful service at our church, can that—and should that—mainly happen in and through small groups?
In the next couple of months, I’d like to explore this question alongside others with you. As our conversation begins, I’d love to hear from you: What are small groups good for?