Intersection of Life and Faith

10 Myths People Believe about Small Group

  • Kristi Woods Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
  • 2017 16 Aug
10 Myths People Believe about Small Group

My husband and I once joined a small group with four other couples. Those four couples, their mamas and daddies, their mama’s mamas and daddy’s daddies and many generations beyond, slept, ate, and worked in the small, North Carolina farming community. Call them entrenched in the comings and goings of the neighborhood. My husband and I, however, arrived with “newcomer” stamped across our lives. But that didn’t matter to our small group.

We dined, chatted, and dove into God’s Word together. Relationships formed, bonds deepened, and voids filled. Some of those folks even came to the rescue when my pregnant self went into labor during hubby’s deployment halfway around the world. Our small group made a difference.

I’d give my experience “two thumbs up.” However, some folks hesitate when it comes to small groups. Myths abound, but they certainly seem real. Let’s lasso 10 of them, reining them in with potential and possibility.

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  • 1. Only perfect, super-spiritual people attend.

    1. Only perfect, super-spiritual people attend.

    People attempt to look the part; they act the part, too. But they aren’t the part – none of us are. Perfection in humans is a myth. Aside from Jesus, perfect people simply don’t exist – not even at small group. 

    We may feel as though we don’t measure up, aren’t good enough, pretty enough, or even spiritual enough, but small groups don’t need people of “enough”. They thrive with breathing, living, and willing people who need Jesus each day. After all, we’ve all fallen short of the glory of God, even small group members.

    “... for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23 WEB)

     

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  • 1. Only perfect, super-spiritual people attend.

    2. I won't make friends.

    Sometimes we create a nice little picture in our head. It involves people. Those people are attending small group. And they’re laughing and chatting – having a good time. Why? They know each other. They’re friends. 

    And then there’s us – the outsider. We’re certain we’ll remain that way, wounded and cold. But that’s not the case. Any good small group will open its embrace wide to new members. They’ll wrap their conversation around us, include us, and get to know us. And we’ll do the same. We might “feel” like an outsider initially, but in a healthy small group, we’ll forge friendships. We’ll become a part of each other’s lives, taking those relationships far into the future. Why miss the opportunity? 

    Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens his friend’s countenance.” (Proverbs 27:17 WEB)

     

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  • 1. Only perfect, super-spiritual people attend.

    3. I'll be forced to pray out loud in small group.

    Shivers race down the spine for some of us when hear these words. In fact, we sit tight with arms crossed and a determination inside suggesting we stay as far away from praying aloud as possible. It’s intimidating. We’re afraid we’ll stumble over our words or say something stupid. But prayer happens; we simply hope it doesn’t happen to us and certainly not aloud! 

    Let’s admit one thing: praying out loud hasn’t killed a single soul. (I don’t think so, at least.) It’s okay to be honest if folks ask us to pray. We simply say no. A good leader won’t typically shine the spotlight on us in that fashion. They’ll know the importance of prayer, because it’s vital to our faith, but they’ll also respect the value of people, not forcing them to pray out loud. With time, we’ll likely be ready to take that step. It’ll be right, and it’ll be good. Until then, we should feel free to pray quietly. 

    “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 WEB)

     

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  • 1. Only perfect, super-spiritual people attend.

    4. Small groups don't impact the world in big ways.

    Consider taking 12 people and grouping them for the cause of Christ. What if they studied together, spent time seeking the Lord’s will, and reaching out in His name? How far would their impact flow?

    The imprint might conceivably rest with those 12, and stop there. That’s 12 lives impacted for the glory of God. Maybe, however, that influence spreads to the families of those 12, touching 36, 48, or more people. Some small groups might even impact their church or community. Or, if they resemble the “Original 12” – the disciples - they’ll leave a mark for Christ on nations and an entire globe. Small groups are vehicles for spreading the aroma of Christ to a dying world. 

    “They departed, and went throughout the villages, preaching the Good News, and healing everywhere.” (Luke 9:6 WEB)

     

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  • 1. Only perfect, super-spiritual people attend.

    5. Small groups are simply gossip sessions.

    A goal, whether studying James, bicycling together, or gathering to study a Christian book, becomes the main thrust of a small group. Call it the fulcrum upon which conversation, interaction, and focus hinge. 

    A good small group is anything but a gossip session. It is an opportunity to worship Jesus, to share our struggles, victories, fears, and insight in a safe, casual and more intimate situation. It’s a place to pray and offer thanksgiving, a gathering to lift friends to their fullest and opportunity to lift God even higher. Any good small group should be a spiritual growth get-together, not a gossip session. 

    “The words of a gossip are like dainty morsels: they go down into a person’s innermost parts.” (Proverbs 18:8 WEB)

     

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  • 1. Only perfect, super-spiritual people attend.

    6. Small group is a substitution for regular church attendance.

    Power resides in small groups. We often walk away changed for the better. As good they are, however, small groups aren’t a substitution for church. 

    Pastors, teachers, evangelists, apostles, and prophets are typically found in the church, not necessarily in small group. God gives these five designations for the good of the body of Christ. 

    “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-12 KJV)

     

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  • 1. Only perfect, super-spiritual people attend.

    7. There's not a group for me.

    Au contraire. Small group variety abounds. Are you a senior? Many churches offer groups for retired folks, widows, or widowers. How about new parents? Yes, there are groups for parents with little ones as well. Groups await for women, men, teens, young adults, mixed ages, geographic preferences, marrieds, those divorced, single people, and so much more. 

    Often, it’s possible to change small groups if the initial fit doesn’t flow. Or, we might even be prompted to start one if enough people have similar needs or desires.  

     

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  • 1. Only perfect, super-spiritual people attend.

    8. It won't change me.

    At first glance, that’s a true statement. Small groups don’t change people. The love of Jesus, however, does. And small groups and their participants fit in that picture.

    Small groups foster an atmosphere for Jesus’ love to be extended through the study material as well as the conversations and actions of the people attending. Friendships often form, and who knows? We might very well find ourselves reaching out and changing in beautiful, godly ways.

    “... not forsaking our own assembling together, as the custom of some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25 KJV)

     

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  • 1. Only perfect, super-spiritual people attend.

    9. I don't have time.

    Time grows tight when the load at work or home increases. But what if we liken small groups to a piece of mouth-watering chocolate dessert? Let’s take just one bite then check our schedule. 

    If we find ourselves enjoying small group, enjoying that “bite”, we’re likely to shuffle our schedule. Or, we might find a small group that meets online, via video, or once or twice a month versus weekly. With a little creativity, there’s usually a way small group fits into the schedule. We benefit and so do others.

    “Therefore watch carefully how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise; redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16 WEB)

     

    Photo credit: ©Thinkstock/dolgachov

  • 1. Only perfect, super-spiritual people attend.

    10. They'll only study the book of John.

    This isn’t all myth. Some small groups do study John. But often their offerings are quite broad. Some groups study books of the Bible, others converse about and answer questions pertaining to the Sunday sermon, and yet others look to activities such as motorcycle riding, book studies, outreach, beach days, dinners, and other activities for participation. 

    Small group focuses are broad. When we investigate and refuse to give up, we’re more apt to find one that brings worship, pleasure, spiritual growth, and outreach. After all, a life-changing small group may be meeting right around the corner.  

     

    Kristi Woods, writer and speaker, is passionate about women walking deeper with God. She clicks words of encouragement at http://www.KristiWoods.net and is published in both Chicken Soup for the Soul: Dreams and Premonitions and Military Families as well as on Proverbs 31 Encouragement for Today. Kristi, her husband, and their three children survived a nomadic, military lifestyle, and have set roots in Oklahoma. Connect with Kristi here: Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

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