I had the pleasure of having lunch last week with a very educated and dedicated Christ-follower. He teaches in the preschool Sunday School department of his church. I would have to say he knows more about Sunday School than the average church member and most church staff members. He has spent the last few years researching Sunday School and Small Groups, learning the advantages, disadvantages, issues and opportunities of each. therein the reason for our lunch.
As I began to share my Neighborhood Small Group experience, he began to seem very interested. I shared how they minister to each other, how they often share cookouts and meals together. Some have even shared vacations or lake outings. Through this sharing they are doing-life together, sharing hurts, struggles, joys, excitements. They encourage one another and support each other.
As our conversation went on, he shared how he really wanted to experience these kind of relationships in his life. He had recently had surgery and could not do some of the chores around his house. He felt like he had no one to call to help him. He did not have the relationships that I had shared about.
Why was my Small Group story so foreign to him? What had he missed by serving week after week in Preschool that had not met his personal need?
As I analyzed our conversation and talked with another friend about what had taken place, we discovered that people need something… they need to be touched by God’s Spirit through His word and experience community with others. There is something at work in a group (“where two or three are gathered”) that does not exist with individuals. The touch, the sense of care, the sharing, the listening, that takes place in community is crucial to applying God’s Word. That is what people are needing.
Small Group accomplishes this through a two-hour block meeting and doing-life together. Sunday School accomplishes this by combining the one-hour study time with outside/during the week times of socials, service projects and doing-life together.
Where are you getting your need for community met?