Stop Having Small Groups [Time Out]

Time Out quiet times for the youth worker's soulTime Out: Weekly quiet times for the youth worker’s soul.
(by Adam Wormann)

Word on the street is that most pastors have a lot of relationships. Guys and Gals in youth work are constantly encouraged to connect relationally to students. Small groups were all the rage a few years back (and often still are), though now we like to talk all about community. Still, pretty much trying to communicate the same thing, just using different language. For all the focus on relationships, we still have quite a bit of lonely people. It looks like relationships are becoming the wrong thing.

Look at Acts chapter 2:42-47 (ESV)
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

People were connecting relationally. This has become a model for how we do ministry. Hey, it’s good, it works, it’s how the early church modeled it, it’s Scriptural…nothing wrong here. Until we (and I think I really mean “I”) get a hold of it. Then it becomes a program. It’s a mean to an end. We participate in, lead, and enable small groups. Yet, we never really connect. It’s probably because we view it more like “ministry” as in “accomplishing the church’s work” instead of “ministry” as in “sharing your life in the context of Gospel living.” To me, it’s become more apparent why so many pastors and church leaders are often so lonely.

Think about your small groups, your friendships…where you spend most of your time. Do you ever have time and people where you have mutual benefit and share life together, where it’s not a church program? Where we break bread in one another’s home, have all things in common, look out for one another, take care of one another, and truly connect? Or is it a “small group” that’s another tool?

Maybe what we need to do is just stop having a “small group meeting.” Give it up. Instead, just love one another and connect. No agenda, just to pursue relationships like Christ intended. Stop making things always about “ministry” in the professional/volunteer sense and more about feeding the souls of others and your own as you share life together.

Ask yourself:

Who are the people I’m really closest to? Do I have a friendship or ministry relationship with them?

What am I doing that allows me to authentically connect with other people?

Who do I need to connect with soon?

Adam Wormann is a Youth Pastor in Old Bridge, NJ where he’s been serving for the past 8 years. He is also one of the mentors at Life in Student Ministry and the editor of the “Time Out” series. You can stalk him on Twitter and Facebook.

Posted on July 19, 2010

New eBookGo
Focused Youth Ministry ebook

85% off!

Focused Youth Ministry

This practical "how to" ebook will walk you through a 30-step process to discovering God's vision for your unique ministry context. The process also shows you how to implement that vision and put metrics in place to evaluate what is moving the vision forward and what isn't.

Price: $12.95 Limited time: $1.99