Ten Ways Small Groups Can Save You

Churches are always trying to get people to join groups of eight to twelve people who meet regularly.

They call them ‘small groups’ or ‘growth groups’ or ‘house groups’. One church called them ‘lambs groups’, which I get the biblical symbolism of, but I can’t imagine guys who ride motorcycles or pump iron joining a ‘lambs group’. I would steer away from that one.

Church leaders know that if people just show up to services, or even volunteer, but don’t belong to a smaller friend group, they may not stick with their faith. These groups meet a number of needs – people get to know each other and develop friendships. They learn more about the Bible. They learn how to pray for each other, then seeing the prayers get answered draws them closer to God. They live out what they believe in good, supportive company.

Anyone who really believes in Jesus is swimming upstream in American culture. That’s just how it is, especially if you’re younger. Little in mainstream mass media, art or academia supports the truth of the Christian faith. No major network or streaming platform is putting money into stories told from a Christian world view. Even saying we believe anything is absolutely true makes us suspect – puts us in company with unhinged preachers and terrorists and people who preserve tons of peaches in preparation for the apocalypse.

So, if we’re going to stick it out as followers of Christ, we need authentic community. We need to be family for each other, minus the weird dynamics. On the path where Jesus is leading us, we need fellow travelers to urge us on, tell us good stories, share their trail mix, and pull us away from cliff edges.

Even when you’ve come to a careful, studied conclusion about what you believe, it’s hard to hang onto it unless the people around you believe it too. My small group, just by gathering together in Jesus’ name, reminds me of the reality that God is really with us. We share what we’re learning, how we’re changing, how prayers are being answered, and I leave bouyant. This is not how I would feel if I stayed home and watched “Fresh Fried and Crispy”.

I’ve had the honor of being in one of these groups for 28 years. I’m writing a series of ten posts on how it’s changed the course of my life, and what we do to help one another. I’ll also talk about some of our terrible mistakes, so you can avoid those. I’m hoping something I write will urge you towards joining or starting your own. Just don’t call it a lamb’s group.

Question for the Comments: Do you meet regularly with a group of people you really trust? If not, does that seem attractive, or not so much?

8 thoughts on “Ten Ways Small Groups Can Save You

  1. Reblogged this on Mitch Teemley and commented:
    My Featured Blogger this week is Colleen Scheid. Full disclosure: Colleen is a long-time personal friend; we live just minutes away from each other and have been members of the same writers group for years. But featuring her here is no favor (except, possibly, a favor to me). Colleen is one of the most gifted and godly people I know. As the saying goes, she walks the talk. Which is saying a lot, because she “talks” (writes) both wisely and beautifully. Read on and you’ll see.

  2. Down the street or from across the world, Mitch finds the best stories to share. It’s amazing how only 12 disciples (-1) changed the world because of their belief in Jesus. Our pastor told us Sunday that a recent survey predicts Christians in theU.S. will be a minority group by the year 2060. That’s a typo, right? Surely, they meant 2006.

  3. I think you are right. Getting together with people who share your values and beliefs is really important. They become your family and you have each other’s backs. I live in Southamerica and this kind of groups is not very common. But maybe I am wrong. Will find out. Thanks. You’ve sparked something in me.

  4. Wow Mitch. Thank you so much. I need to do another series on what a difference writers’ groups make. I wouldn’t have finished two novels without the support of you and our group.

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