Thinking Outside the Group

Consider ways to intentionally lead an open small group.

Have you ever been challenged to think outside the box? Or to quote a recent television ad, think outside the bun? Beyond the soft security of the bun is the tantalizing crunch of the taco shell. Beyond the safe complacency of your small group is the thrill and excitement of shining God's light in a dark world. Outside the parameters of our comfort zone lie the opportunities that dreams are made. As a small group leader, do you ever let yourself wonder, "What if?" What if we invited others to our small group? What if our small group spent time bringing the hope of Jesus to others in our community?

Max Lucado writes a compelling story called The Cave People, in which a stranger confronts a tribe of cave dwellers, living in complete darkness and hopelessness. This stranger enters into their darkness and builds a fire, spraying warmth and light to the far reaches of the cave. The tribe cowers and covers their eyes, quickly rebuking the fire builder. They spew excuses of why they can't come near the fire, but their excuses melt in the rays of penetrating light. One cave dweller, however, dares to step near. She allows herself to absorb the warmth and wills her eyes to see what has been hidden from her for so long. In a dialogue with the fire builder, she expresses her desire to stay near the fire and to not leave her people behind in the darkness. The stranger reaches into the fire and removes a stick, which he hands the woman. He says, "Carry this to your people. Tell them the light is here, and the light is warm. Tell them the light is for all who desire it." With the warmth and power of the light, she steps back into the shadows in search of her people.

Small groups can offer the warmth of God's acceptance and love, the light ...

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