Toward the end of the movie "Simon Birch," the driver of a school bus full of children (on their way home from a winter church camp) tries to avoid a deer in the road. In doing so he finds himself careening down a lake embankment and crashing into the frigid winter waters.
The children panic fearing the worst when little Simon gets their attention and says, "Stop it. I am not going to let anything happen to anybody here. Understand?" He and his friend then proceed to lead each child to safety.
Creating a place of grace and love
What if you and I took that same approach with the people in our small groups? What if we declared to them, "Stop. We are not going to let anything happen to you. We are going to extend to you the grace, love and forgiveness like you have never known before."
In his book, "The Safest Place on Earth," Larry Crabb defines Christianity as a place where someone can hit bottom and be ok. Not that they made ok choices but that that person is ok within the group. When someone hits bottom, does your group turn to them or away from them?
Creating a "safe place" where people can truly open up and share at a deep intimate level is an important step in developing real intimacy in small group community. The beginning of this journey starts by allowing people to disclose parts of their personal life story and being affirmed by their fellow group members. It is sharing from the light side of life and moving to our deepest needs. But this is just the beginning.
The authors of "The Ascent of a Leader," explain that there is a difference between "disclosure" and "vulnerability." In disclosure, I get to decide what and how much I disclose, but ...