When Stephen asked us to host a small group at our house, one week after attending Harbor Mid-City for the first time, we begrudgingly agreed. In fact, when he told us that Harbor was a church consisting of a few community groups… we were skeptical.
My faith in small groups had been shaken. I was pretty close to making the statement public that I’d felt for a while… “Small groups don’t work.” Most of my adult life I had either lead a teen small group or adult small group and they had always functioned but never “worked” quite like the books on small groups said they would. We had always met, done some sort of Bible Study, prayed for one another, shared food and some laughs– and that was it. The community thing never happened. The caring for one another or feeling connected… it never happened. Those groups were functional and great, but left me longing for that small group experience everyone talked about in the books.
I wondered if small groups were a myth!
Then I met these people. I don’t know how else to explain it but our group just gelled and it’s been a great group from our first meeting. Here’s a few things that I love about having the group at our house each Monday night:
- We keep the agenda in check. The agenda is that we’re in community together. There is likely a church agenda. Probably that we’d talk about the Sunday sermon or that we’d pray for one another. And sometimes those agendas converge while other times they don’t. Our group has done everything from adopting a refuge family to watching Monday Night Football. Most often we get together and talk about the past weeks message and pray for one another. We’ve had incredibly deep conversations and we’ve had a chili cook-off. I actually think the magical component that has made our group work is keeping the community agenda the only important agenda while keeping all the other agendas in check.
- We’re game for “one another.“ The core people of this group hasn’t changed that much in the last 12 months. In that time we’ve welcomed probably 25 different people who’ve come and gone. That really is how small groups go. Heck, that’s how churches roll! I don’t know exactly how to describe it, but this group has really taken care of one another.
- We don’t take ourselves very seriously. Last Monday, we spent about 10 minutes joking about the name of the restaurant we’re having lunch at on Sunday, Pho King. (Pho is a Vietnamese soup meal, pronounced “fu,” exactly like the first half of the F word.) We talk about serious things. We have serious moments. But laughter and hilarity are always within reach.
Each Monday, on my way home, I think to myself… “I’m glad it’s Monday.” This little group has been a testament that small groups can work.