In a recent friendly conversation around the offices of SmallGroups.com, someone jokingly exclaimed, "My small group is better than yours!" While we don't want to promote any unhealthy competition, there was a nugget of truth in this statement that we want to celebrate: people love their small groups. So we set out to find out what you love about your group. We even asked our Facebook fans and Twitter followers to share with us. Here are some of our favorite answers.
We adopted a house of adults with special needs. We recognized that there were needs in the residential houses that weren't being met, and that the people who live there were craving closer connections. Our group provides household goods, personal hygiene items, and more. Plus, we hang out with them by watching movies, hosting barbecues, and leading other activities. It's a blessed interaction. —Kathi Waltenbaugh, Washington
The prayer is powerful! The ladies are accepting. I continually learn how much God loves me through these women. —Sara Snyder, Illinois
I started a men's group to raise more men leaders in church. We meet every week for study and prayer. As most of these men come directly from work, we try to have dinner together every week. When we finish a study—every two or three months—we give ourselves a reward and plan a challenging outdoor activity like a wilderness hike or mountaineering. We study the skills required and do quite a bit of running to prepare. That's led to several men taking up running more seriously and preparing to run a half marathon. —Pol Gonzales, Philippines
Our church has tried a variety of different groups that we have labeled "low impact" groups, for people who may not have been in a small group before or simply may not want something really in-depth at the moment. My group is called Soul Food, and we meet together every Sunday night in our church kitchen and cook together! The leader picks out a theme for the meal, and we bring in different recipes that match the theme. Then we split into pairs and cook different parts of the meal. The leader makes copies of all the recipes, so by the end of the group, we will each have our own book of all the recipes. When everything is done, we sit down and eat together and have a great time of fellowship. Plus, we make doubles of everything and deliver the second meal to a family in the community that is in need. No calling ahead; we just show up and bless them. —Erin Bradshaw, Illinois
One reason I love our small group is because we have raised our children together for over seven years. Early on, our five families decided to embrace the chaos of having all the kids (currently 14 kids from 3- to 18-years-old) with us during all group times. Most of us did not have any family nearby and yearned to create an extended family with honorary Christian aunts and uncles. We wanted our children to experience community with one another and see faith modeled by various adults and homes. Although we don't share the same parenting style, we're committed to respecting the differences and give each other permission to instruct or correct the children as necessary. It hasn't been a smooth journey, but it has been very good. If you were to ask my kids which adults they trust the most after family, several of the adults in this group would be at the top of the list. Recently we celebrated the first child of the group graduating from high school, and it was a joy to see how this group has loved her, watched over her, and spoken into her life as she has grown up. I don't think it takes a village to raise a child; it takes a small group. —Carolyn Taketa, California