Remember the classic TV show "Cheers"? My favorite character was Norm, the perpetual and popular barfly who didn't have a care or a career. Norm represented the "norm" for that environment. He was a nice, lovable guy—the kind of guy you'd want to be friends with—but he had no vision.
Who is the "Norm" in your small group? Better yet, what is the norm for your group?
A norm is simply what becomes normal for the group. Another name for norms is values. Values are the virtues that come from a standard of truth. Values are never relative. They are the principles you live by and thereby keep you on the right path to effectiveness and success. Values are what guide or drive an individual, group, or institution. Values are foundational. For Christians, our values come from Scripture, and once they are in place, from those values flow attitudes, which result in right behaviors and actions.
Unfortunately, many small groups have either a weak or nonexistent value system. That being said, groups that do live by a set of values could be called "abnormal"! My observation is that many small group ministries in churches have no value systems either. And so they say, "Oh yeah, we tried small groups for a while, but they didn't work." Of course, they didn't work because they were not built on the right foundation (see Matthew 7:24-27).
Vision comes directly out of your values. In fact, vision not rooted in values is distorted vision and will lead you to wrong behaviors and actions. "Where there is no vision, the people perish" (Prov. 29:18, KJV). Vision literally means sight. It is the ability to see a picture of the future; for a Christian small group, it is a picture God has drawn for them. (In the Proverbs 29:18 passage, the ...