Ever tried viewing a non-mobile friendly site on your iPhone or Droid?
You gotta pinch, drag, swipe, all sorts of stuff, just to make it work and even with that the experience sucks.
Because you are trying to use something outside of its designed purpose.
Unfortunately, I think this describes a lot of people’s small group experiences.
Small groups are great when they work the way they should. The community they offer can be super-valuable but when people get away from the real purpose of a small group it becomes a “drain” rather than a “fountain.”
Recently I shared 5 ingredients for a healthy community. Those “ingredients” are all things you should look for in a healthy small group as well. But let’s be honest; not all our small groups experiences have been healthy ones.
In light of that I want to follow up with 5 reasons you may want to abandon your small group.
Reason #1: You are too guarded.
Small groups are meant to breed “authentic community.” The idea of “doing life together” is often talked about. This requires some openness on your part. However, if you go to a group every week with your walls up then you are wasting your time and everyone else’s.
Authentic community requires authenticity, not disingenuous posturing.
Reason #2: Your group is too guarded.
Maybe you really want that open community to do life with but you feel like your current small group isn’t on the same page? Maybe you’ve tested the waters with a remark or two just to realize that everyone else wasn’t feeling your vibe.
If this is the case you need to go.
Find a new group because if the group’s culture is one of shallow talk and guarded conversations then you will either get tremendously discouraged or always feel like the “weird” odd man out when it’s time to share
Reason #3: Your spouse and/or kids already complain about not having enough time together.
This unfortunately describes a lot of married couples. They are so involved in everything else that they forget the importance of being involved with each other. Yes, attending a small group together may be beneficial for your marriage.
But, it pales in comparison to the value you’ll receive from some quality one-on-one time. If your marriage is already feeling the stress of being overloaded, no need to add something else to the mix.
Reason #4: Your church likes to “mix it up” and move people around every so often.
I like to call this musical chairs small groups.
This concept is great for small group replication and growth, but it sucks for growing deep relationships. Sometimes churches get so focused on growing their small groups program that they forget the reason for doing them.
Listen, building life-long and meaningful community takes work and it takes a lot of time.
These things don’t happen overnight. And if you are pouring into a group knowing that in a few months you have to start the process all over again, then maybe you are better off starting something yourself.
Reason #5: You can’t talk about “sh*t” without offending people.
There are many small groups out there that want to be “open” BUT they only want to be open their way. In other words, they don’t want to upset the delicate balance of those participating.
You need a group where you can vent.
Where you can share what’s really on your heart and not have to worry about how you say it. You need a place where people love you, warts and all.
If you are having a super-tough week but feel like you have to curb the sharing so as not to offend others then you are probably in the wrong small group. If the relationships are authentic then people should be able to embrace the real and raw you, even if it makes them a little uncomfortable.
Honestly, I could think of several more reasons but these are what I believe are the most common pitfalls of a bad small group experience.
Maybe you rather challenge the system and try to change things with your current small group before leaving it. If so, I think that’s great and encourage you to do so.
Whatever you do is fine, just do something because “doing life” the way I described above is a waste of time and energy. Don’t settle for less. Insist on more from your small group and you won’t be disappointed.
And if you struggle with porn or unwanted sexual behavior, or just need some support as because your spouses or partner does, then check out Small Groups Online.