Ben and I have been blessed by a few “small groups” in our day. Our group in TN probably saved me from a serious bout with postpartum depression. I didn’t cook for a month after our first baby was born! Then a few of us ladies started getting together to have “play dates” and eat yummy food. These were some of the very first friends I had, post marriage, and boy did I NEEEEED them. That small group played a huge roll in our going on staff with the Navs too. They not only supported us emotionally, cheered us on and believed in us, they all joined our monthly financial support team! That was HUGE for us. HUGE. To be supported by people we love and admire so much continues to astound us.
Anyway, in Madison, we missed the boat on getting involved in a small group. I made my way into a few women’s groups, but we were still getting the hang of our evenings taken up by stuff on campus, so the thought of giving one to a small group felt overwhelming. But, the whole time we were there in Madison, we missed the connectedness we’d felt in TN. We missed knowing a couple of couples really well.
This fall we settled on a church and decided to join a small group. We had our first meeting a few Sundays ago. Here’s the thing. Three out of the four couples are in full-time ministry in some form or another like us. That disappointed us a bit. Not that we don’t think we could be friends with them, but we had hoped for a wider variety of experiences and walks of life.
Then there was the “kid factor.” Two out of three of our kids loved the other kids and enjoyed playing during small group time very much, but the other one absolutely did not, (but that one never does, so it was no surprise.) That just added to the feeling that is was going to take enormous amounts of momentum to stay committed to this group.
And so, I’ve been praying, “Lord. Is it worth it?”
I’m sure you’ve guessed what He’s said back to me. “Duh. What do you think?”
Well, maybe not exactly like that.
All this to say, small groupin’, making commitments to folks, taking time to invest in relationships, aligning ourselves with them in life, sharing burdens, being vunerable…sounds good in writing, but is hard to live.
I think it’s hard though, in the right ways.
If I think of it as just “one more thing to do,” I have no hope. Might as well jump out right now.
But, if I think of it as the investment with dividends that it is, that’s better.
If I think of it as my chance to join up with another one of God’s living and moving and working bodies, that gets me going.
If I think of it as one way I can use my gifts for the furthering of God’s grace for His praise – I’m there.
In the harsh light of Sunday afternoon, it means suspending my feelings about whether or not I “want to” and resting in the commitment I have made.
So, where are you all with the small groupin’ thing? Have you found there are easy and not so easy seasons to be involved? What are the challenges you’ve faced? Tell me your stories friends…
More thoughts on this later, because this small group has some unique features – for one our group is using a form of Facebook, but for churches, to stay connected through the week. It’s interesting.
I guess I probably won’t get to the post on donuts, but can we just all agree that they rule? Absolutely can not be beat?