Today I trained leaders at Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, MI. It was great fun to help people realize the stories that are being told in and through their groups and to begin to ask different questions about how to move the stories along. It was refreshing to help people refrain from judging their groups if their stories failed to measure up to some kind of ideal or radical vision. They began to see how to think in terms of meeting people where they are and then invite them on a journey into a new story.
Most groups tell a story that looks much the same as the story lived out by those outside the church, they just put a small group on top of their normal American lives. The missional story stands in contrast to the normal story.
But the key to it all is to understand your own story of community. What is happening there? What live does the group do? What does it value? What are the basic patterns of rhythms of life therein? Instead of small group principles and leadership how to’s, we need to get inside the story that our groups live and understand them. Then the group as a whole can look and see what they want to do differently.
What is your small group story?