In addition to pastoring Grace Community Church, I also lead a small group (aka Life Group) which meets at our house every Sunday at 5:30pm. Our group is pretty new, but we have some folks who are very committed to meeting every week and going about the business of sharing life together. Last Sunday we gathered for one of the best group times I can remember.
Several people shared freely about the various struggles they faced, and I was struck by just how difficult life is. There were deep and painful struggles with children, heart wrenching stories of illness, and life altering tales of hardship. Simply listening to these accounts was, for lack of a better word, hard. So stunning were some of these stories that we stopped down and paused for prayer three times just so we could make it through the night.
As some shared and others prayed, I was blown away by a unique and exciting thought: We were actually opening up about the gory details of our lives without fear or remorse. There were no shallow bushes to hide behind. All that stood before us were the open, revealing and deep waters of true Christian brother and sisterhood. We didn't gather for a dinner party or an ice breaker or a game night. Instead, we coalesced for the dual purposes of bearing our souls and seeking our Savior. What other venue can offer this? What other setting would dare?
This is why I love my Life Group: It's the only place something like this can happen. It's deep and real and good. It's not even always fun, but there's not a single post-Life Group discussion that doesn't contain this sentiment: "I'm so glad I went to Life Group tonight!"
Even if you have an aversion to sharing your "junk" with a small group, do me a favor and try it anyway. You may discover that there's really no reason to avoid the risky proposition of consistently attending a small group.