We all have an opinion on small group life. Some of us lean toward “small groups are amazing.” Some of us lean toward “small groups are just plain difficult. And awkward.”
Rarely is someone neutral when it comes to intentionally building spiritually-formative relationships with others.
I’ve been a part of life-giving small groups that I long to gather with week in and week out. Ones where I leave with more of Jesus than when I came.
I’ve also been a part of groups that seem to suck the life right out of me. Ones where I give, but get nothing in return. (I think that has to do most prominently with small group dominators, but that’s another post for another day.)
Healthy small groups teach us more than they often set out to teach. We are molded and changed in so many ways, because God uses others in mighty ways to make us more like Jesus.
In fact, you can’t be like Jesus without others. It’s impossible. You can’t serve others, love others, be generous with one another or accomplish any of the “one another” commands in Scripture by yourself.
9 unintended benefits of small group life.
1. Not everybody thinks like you do, and that’s OK.
Sometimes, our pride needs a swift body check. We need to run after a fly ball in center field and crash into the wall.
We think we’re the only ones with a corner on the “right” answers, and we need subtle, and not-so-subtle, reminders that there are other ways to think.
2. Not everybody thinks like you do, and you can still love them.
Loving those who can, and will, love us back is barely love. Loving those who think and act differently than we do is more challenging, and takes more faith. It’s more risky and more difficult.
Just because someone thinks differently doesn’t mean you can’t go out of your way to love them. Hanging around people that think like you do is more dangerous than living life with different people that stretch you.