Why Make Space for Small Groups?

Discipleship is not something that we do to other people; discipleship is what we do with other believers.

Most people already have most of the relationships they need. They are already closely connected with the people they need in their lives. When they are challenged to join a small group, they might not sense the need because there is no need.

An examination of Joseph Myers' book, The Search to Belong, reveals four spheres of human relationships: public, social, personal and intimate. His perception is that an invitation or urging to join a small group causes people to jump from pubic relationships (meaning people who attend the same church that might or might not know each other) to intimate relationships in a small group where they would share the most personal details of their lives.

I am not sure that most groups are formed by transitioning public relationships into intimate relationships. I am certain that such a premise for forming groups is either bound to fail or quite short-lived.

First of all, there is no guarantee that those in small groups will form intimate relationships with each other. When I think of intimate relationships, I think of a very select group of people: my wife, my parents, my children, and my closest friends. The last thing I want in my small group is a relationship with another man that is akin to the intimacy I have with my wife! I am not a macho man, but all guys must draw the line somewhere.

Malcolm Gladwell in The Tipping Point says that there are only 10-12 people whose deaths would dramatically affect our lives. While we certainly would sense grief at the loss of anyone we knew, not everyone's death has the same impact on our lives. Most healthy, functioning people already have these relationships in their lives. Since the limit for most of us is 10-12 and the size of a small group is usually ...

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