Christianity has been practiced in the midst of our "holy huddles." There is a lack of Christian energy being expended on reaching the lost. We are using it all up at our gatherings.—Bob Muni(1)
Frequent moves have left my husband and me far from extended family. In our early years of marriage, I found this very painful. I now realize that the small groups we have belonged to have been our family support network. In many ways we have become closer to people in our small groups than to our own family members because of their availability and compassion. Still, this closeness also has a downside.
Just as our small town wants to preserve its small-town feel of comfort and security, once we start feeling comfortable with our small groups and those bonds begin to strengthen, we are tempted to sit back and bask in the secure feelings they give.
People need an environment where they can feel cared for and safe. The danger is that when they become too comfortable, their primary concern becomes their own welfare and how to keep that feel-good atmosphere. When their main focus is their own well-being, it is hard to care about others.
Long-established churches often suffer from this malady. After years of having vital ministry, churches may morph into a social club where people's main concern is feeling comfortable. Though some members may still have a heart for reaching unchurched people, they often do not know how to go about it because they are so entrenched in old habits and systems. Leaders can prevent this from happening in small groups by training members to see beyond themselves and to consider the welfare of others.
Stepping Outside the Circle of Comfort
Evangelism may not be the primary concern of small groups, but members ...