Small Groups Just Aren't My Thing

Small Groups Just Aren't My Thing. By Pastor Brian Stanley
Have you ever said that? Whenever LifeGroup season (small groups at Lifehouse) rolls around I sometimes hear this sentiment and even if I don't hear it, I can be certain that any number of individuals think it. To be honest, I would have to lump myself into those who sometimes feel this way. There are any number of reasons why. As an introvert, my idea of fun is usually found in a quiet empty room, not one crammed with another 6-10 people. Then you have the awkward 'get to know ya' phase, questions you're not prepared to answer, then the leader asks you out of nowhere to pray...out loud! You might get asked to turn to a book of the Bible which you have no clue where to find, you might get volunteered to bring brownies one week, and let's not even get into the various personality types that pop up in group settings that might cause us feel insecure, or cringy, or that really pushes our limits of patience and kindness. Believe me, I know, I have been there. On top of all of this, it's' another night out of the week. Quite possibly a direct conflict with something else you'd rather do or a show you'd rather watch. You might have to contend for child care, rush home from work and hastily scarf-down dinner. Families with little ones might have to push homework or bedtime back to a later hour than is desired. I suppose I could go on, but you get the idea: for many of us, small groups just aren't our thing. Those are downsides perhaps. But, I wonder - do we also take time to make an honest inventory of all we stand to gain?  

That is what I have to do - time and time again. When I do take inventory and consider the example and commands of Jesus, I am fully compelled to engage in small group life once more. You see, no matter what excuses I come up with or discomforts I must endure, I cannot escape the fact that following Jesus, being a disciple, is walked out through close knit relationships with other Christ followers. It can only be expressed in community. In proximity to both friends and strangers as I take on both the role of disciple and disciple-maker. In the same room, at the same table as those who are bible scholars and bible noobs, prayer warriors and prayer strugglers, introverts and extroverts, the oversharers and the silent types. There certainly are a number of factors that go into making a successful and fruitful small group, but none greater than my own participation and engagement in the process and life of the group. In this context, many wonderful things begin to happen for each of us. Allow me to name just a few:

1. You will understand the Bible better in a LifeGroup.
2. You will begin to really feel like part of God’s family.
3. Prayer will become more meaningful to you.
4. You will be able to handle stress and pressure better.
5. You will develop leadership skills you never knew you had!
6. You will deepen your understanding of worship.
7. You will build friendships that will endure the test of time.
8. You will be actively participating in the mission of Christ.
9. You will help bring unity and strength to the church community you claim to love.
10. You will be a New Testament Christian!

The preceding list is really just a few of the highlights. The benefits are truly incalculable when you consider all the practical, spiritual, and eternal benefits. To say that 'small groups just aren't my thing' might reduce our engagement as a simple issue of interest and choice; but the truth of the matter is that we are actually deprioritizing the aforementioned benefits not just in our lives - but in the lives of others. And that is what really gets me. Sure, there are times where I'm not feeling the small group vibe or wonder if I might enjoy investing my time in some other way, but then what of my brother? What of my sister? What of their growth and discipleship in Christ? Or is discipleship someone else's priority?  No, as a Christ follower, it is a mandate on which I cannot pass the buck. That is when I must push through. Push past all my discomforts, preferences, and inconveniences for the sake of others. And when I press in and push through with that right motivation, I find that my life has indeed been changed as well.

This fall, I invite us all to engage in the discipleship process through the expression of small groups. May it be a fruitful season for each of us - even those of us who feel like 'it's just not our thing.'


Dawn - September 8th, 2022 at 12:39pm

Thanks Brian. I pray this is a season of growth in this area:)

Alicia - September 8th, 2022 at 5:07pm

This is a fabulous post!

Chris Thomson - September 9th, 2022 at 12:03pm

Well said, brother!