Skip to main content

Search to Belong: Group Dynamics



Currently, I'm trying to post a few times a week summaries of chapters from books I've read over the past few years. These are the books that have really informed my thinking on discipleship and small groups. Hopefully, they'll provide a good opportunity for you to think through some of these same thoughts.

Today, I'm looking at chapter four from the book The Search to Belong by Joe Myers. This chapter is entitled, "Group Chemistry."

The introduction to this chapter includes three important questions:
  • Does everyone need to be in a small group to experience significant, healthy community?
  • Do small groups help or hinder a person's search to belong?
  • Are small groups honestly the most significant way a person can grow in relationship to others and to God?
Meyer's questions are a reaction against the stream of evangelicalism over the past decade which has suggested that "small groups" are a magic bullet to solve all things your church needs. Later in the chapter he addresses the sad truth that many churches have launched small groups as their MAIN THING simply because someone has told them this is the secret element to church growth. However, even with this great focus on small groups over the past several years, most churches consider themselves to be successful if only 35% of their people are participating in small groups. Meyers questions if we might be missing the point if success is less than half our people doing the thing we think is MOST important.

Meyers suggests the solution may be to rethink our ideas on small groups. If "belonging" is the goal, he suggests this might happen in several different kind of environments, which include but are not limited to small groups. Belonging, according to Meyers, needs to be cultivated but cannot be programmed. He suggests we begin to think of ourselves more as environmentalists, and less as programmers. His idea is that we seek to create a diversity of environments in which healthy connections and belonging can occur, rather than trying to force everyone into a small group template which likely won't work for at least two thirds of the people trying it.

These are important words. We need to consider them and seek appropriate venues to implement them. Small groups are a FANTASTIC method by which people can be connected to God and each other. But these same connections can also happen in large groups, in partnerships, and in many other circumstances we may not even be able to think about. We should regularly endeavor to be developing relationships of all kinds which may lead to spiritual connections.

One last thought. There is a danger in Joe Meyer's kind of thinking. Occasionally, I feel like he's lost sight of the ULTIMATE goal, which is not connection or belonging but being right with God. That said, knowing that God has told us in His Word that we grow closer to Him through our relationships, we must make an effort to connect and belong to others. However, those connections can never be an end in themselves, but must rather ALWAYS be a means to closer union with God.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Discussion Questions for Easter

Have several people ask the question, “What’s the most important thing you’ve ever done?”
Ask other people, “What do you hope to accomplish in the next several years of your life?”
Tell your class that today you’ll be talking about “life mission” or the one most important thing you do that drives everything else. Tell them that Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is the defining moment in history, so it should be the defining moment in our lives.
Read 1 Corinthians 15:12-19. How does the resurrection impact some of the crucial beliefs of Christianity? 
How would Christianity be different if there was no resurrection? How would you be different without the resurrection?
Read 1 Corinthians 15:50-58. What are some specific ways that the resurrection gives us hope?
If you had been a friend of Jesus when he was on earth, how would the resurrection have impacted your life? 
How do you think his followers then were effected by the resurrection?
Read 1 Corinthians 15:58. What do you t…

21 Bible Passages With Which Every Small Group Leader Should Be Familiar

Matthew 5:23-24.
23"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

Luke 10:1-11.
1After this the Lord appointed seventy-two[a] others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. 3Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. 4Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.

5"When you enter a house, first say, 'Peace to this house.' 6If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. 7Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to hous…

SOAPY Bible Study

In the past, I've written about and talked about the SOAP method of Bible study. This is a simple Bible study method which can be utilized by an individual or a small group. All you need is a passage of Scripture and 15-30 minutes (a journal is helpful).

Many churches use this method of Bible study for their groups. Some have modified the SOAP method by adding a Y. Read more about it below:


This Bible study is an intentional focused effort of growing in the understanding of the scriptures. This form of study will assist in the transformation of our inner lives as we mature in understanding and in faith.
Set aside 15 minutes every day for the study. You might want to take more time after you have gotten started. Don’t overload yourself in the beginning. Keep a “soapy” journal because there will be the need to write everyday. As you develop your routine, share what you are learning with your Discipleship Group, Sunday school class, Circle, other groups in which you participate, or …