9 Reasons Life Groups Go South

life groups

Have you ever been part of really bad life groups (or small groups, or whatever your church calls them)? I know I have.

Some life groups are terrible because nobody talks. Others are terrible because no matter what the topic is some dude brings the whole discussion back to his hobby horse. Others make you want to hit yourself in the face with a 2 x4 simply because the second that you actually start looking like a legit life group, super-spiritual-Sammy quotes a few Bible verses and shuts down any discussion.

One of the things that I am working on in our church at present is helping our life groups grow and become more focused. In doing this I’ve created a Life Group Leader Training*. One topic that we discussed was where Life Groups go south. Many of these are connected and only symptoms of other things. In this instance I shot with a shotgun instead of a rifle so the leaders could grab hold of something tangible. And I thought it might be good to share with you.

9 Reasons Life Groups Go South

1. Not seeing the necessity of community.

If Life Groups are nothing more than a program they’ll go south pretty quickly. When they are viewed as vital to our life together then we’ll take them far more seriously.

2. Not having ownership (leader, group).

This is connected to the first one. If Life Groups are just the preachers idea it won’t go anywhere. Ownership of a Life Group (by both leader and group) is like the fuel that motivates many of the other things in this list. When you have ownership of something you’ll do the necessary work of changing what needs to change, like lovingly telling Hobby Horse Hank that he ought to talk about something else once in awhile.

3. Being centered on something other than the gospel.

Some groups can be centered on very good things—but soon enough they’ll go south. The only One powerful enough to bind together sinners into meaningful community is the Spirit. And the Spirit is about exalting Christ. When we start exalting something else as primary we lose our glue.