*Cue sad music.*
“Oh gosh. Wow. How do I say this?”
“I didn’t think this day would come. I mean, I really liked you. We clicked. We laughed. We cried.”
*Eye contact ceases.*
“For a while, this was really good. But … well … it’s me, not you.”
*Insert awkward silence.*
“I’ve changed. I guess.”
*Cue sweaty palms.*
“This just isn’t working out.”
“I’m just not in love with you any more.”
“But I still like you. But not like I used to. And I know someone else that you could see.”
*Cue the ugly crying.*
Ever felt like you wanted to break up with your small group? Know it’s time to move on? Maybe your schedule changed. Maybe you added baseball practice on the same night as your small group. Maybe Thursday nights aren’t the same for your family as they were a year ago. Maybe you’ve started taking a night class.
Maybe you know it’s time for you to lead a group of your own.
Maybe the group isn’t accomplishing what it needs to accomplish, and you’re ready to be more intentional with your spiritual growth.
Breakups are never easy. But the quicker you rip off the band-aid, the less painful the whole process becomes. If you wait years to do what you know you need to do today, you’ll cause undue pressure on you and your group.
If it’s time to break up, here are some pointers.
How to Break Up With Your Group
The gravity of this decision necessitates an in-person conversation. Your group loves you, and you will greatly devalue their love and their impact on your life if you just stop showing up and assume that they get it. You owe it to your group leader and the group to be clear and forthright. An email, or a text or just abandoning your group with no explanation isn’t the way to go.
If you’re going to break up with your group, go mano-a-mano.
If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. – Jesus, Matthew 18:15
(The principle application is when your brother has sinned against you, but whether he has sinned against you or not, difficult and sensitive conversations like this are best handled in person.)
If there was something that bothered you about the group, be honest about it. Help the group leader know what could be done to improve the group. Choose how honest you want to be in front of the whole group. Don’t go out with a “scorched earth” policy.
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ. – Paul, Ephesians 4:15
Your group wasn’t all bad, was it? Did God do ANYTHING? Then encourage your group leader by helping them see how God used them. We all need encouragement—daily. Leaders especially. Most group leaders consistently wonder if what they’re doing is making any sort of an impact in people’s lives or if God is even doing anything. You leaving the group feeds their fears and insecurities, so help reassure them and assuage their debilitating fears.
But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. – Paul, Hebrews 3:13
Quickly. Rip that bandaid off.
Don’t wait a year to do this. Don’t wait months to do it. If you know you need to break up with your group, prolonging the inevitable makes things more difficult when the time comes. It’s going to be a hard conversation, but it’ll only get more difficult with time. Call your group leader today and schedule a coffee meeting.
So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. – Jesus, Matthew 5:23-24
(The principle here is if there’s something between you and your brother, there’s something between you and God. Take care of it immediately.)
By starting a new group.
There’s hardly a better way to break it to your group leader that you’re leaving than to leave to start a new group. There’s hardly a better confirmation of God’s work in and through your current group than for you to take the step of faith to start a new one. Don’t just leave. Leave FOR something. Don’t abandon community.
“[Don’t neglect] to meet together, as is the habit of some…” – Hebrews 10:25
The sum of the above “break-up rules” is to cover everything you do with love.
Ever had to break up with your group? Tell us about it.