Holistic groups do not equal perfect groups. The perfect group does not exist. Small groups are places where broken people are in the process of becoming whole.
A few weeks ago, I was teaching a small group seminar in York, PA. On Monday night I attended one of York Alliance's small groups. I was bone-weary before attending that group, and I thought to myself, I do not need another meeting.
However, I loved it! The home atmosphere refreshed me. The early church met in homes, just like we are doing tonight, I thought to myself. Sitting in Ken's living room made me feel part of Ken's life. I could see his family's tastes on the walls and in the furniture. I was also touched that evening by those present. Ken's son, for example, sat on the sofa across from me and testified about his alcohol abuse and how God transformed his life. Here he was in the small group honoring his father and mother and more importantly honoring the God who saved him. All those present were wrestling with some kind of life issue. One person had a job-related knee injury that needed prayer. Another was recently released from jail and was trying to get his life back together. All of us needed God's healing touch in one form or another.
That evening in York, PA, I witnessed a holistic, life transforming small group. As I have reflected on the key ingredients present in holistic small groups, I have noticed the following components to always be present:
- Regularity. If the group only meets once in awhile, it is very difficult for wholeness to take place. For example, if the group decides to meet a couple of times per month or even once per month and a group member misses one meeting, he or she might not even see the other members for the entire month. It is very hard for life change to take place with such irregularity. Weekly meetings are the norm in holistic small groups (although natural breaks, for holidays, sickness, etc. are normal as well)