All right, maybe I'm stretching quite a bit to make a connection between the popular female R&B group Destiny's Child and small group experience. But the group was born out of the coincidental meeting of two 9-year-olds, named from a verse from Isaiah, who often sings songs about the quest for destiny and purpose. If the group is big, maybe it's because the underlying themes they explore are big for the emerging generations of seekers and disciples. Is there a shift in motivation for getting involved in small groups?
In my pastoral experience, small group ministries first emerged from the yearning to discover more about yourself, your God, and your relationships. It was a means to learn more, go deeper, get in touch with your real self, and either face your unsavory past or recover your true heritage. It was all about "being" someone authentic, and getting to know Jesus, the New Adam or the Truly Authentic One, was the way to do it.
Lately I am finding more and more people disinterested in small groups. Sure, they valued the learning and growth that was accomplished. But it's over. Now what? These people have not only been in small groups most of their lives, but they have also been in psychotherapy and devoured self-help books, participated in Christian education and devoured the Bible, and even talked to clergy and devoured contemporary music. And there fundamental stance in life and church is: Now What?
It seems that more and more people are looking for a different kind of small group. It's not about being authentic, but about becoming purposeful. It's about discerning the hidden spiritual intent behind the coincidental meetings of 9-year-olds … or 21-year olds. It's about discovering that "thing", the pursuit of ...