Recognizing that small groups often attract two main types of personalities, (A+ types and high maintenance people), I began to see the importance of attracting, well, regular people – not just high achievers and low achievers, but regular people too. You know, the soccer moms, baseball dads, accountants, electricians, college students, young professionals, blue collar workers, and the kinds of people who are just good, regular Christians.
I can understand why regular people are not attracted to small groups. They are extremely busy already, and have a wide variety of interests, duties, and hobbies to keep them engaged. They are doing good to make it to church on Sunday. Soccer moms, for instance, already have support groups with other soccer moms in mini vans driving from soccer practice to youth meetings. Most of these regular people recognize that they SHOULD be in a church small group, but their schedules don’t allow for it; and quite frankly, being in a room full of high maintenance people who are emotionally draining is not attractive enough for them to make this shift one extra night a week. Besides, some groups are downright gloomy and depressing. They feel like just another bad meeting. Who wants to do this? Not me!
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say something that everybody already thinks, but is afraid to say…. I want to meet with people I ENJOY being with. Life is too short to do otherwise. I want to experience laughter, animated conversation, happiness and fun with the people I do small groups with. I want people who will improve my life, not burden it. Give me a group of people whose company I enjoy, and I’ll probably be there. Put me in a group of people who are difficult to get along with, and I’m almost certain some emergency will come up to keep me from going.
Now, I know there are some super-saints in the world who will take their time to sit and listen to anyone say anything that comes to mind…. but I’m not that sanctified. I don’t want to take a night out of my week, week after week, to sit in a room with people who are high maintenance, emotionally draining, or those who rub me the wrong way. I have phone calls to make, a wife who wants my attention, bills to pay, books to read, groceries to buy, chores to do, grass to cut and three dogs to feed. I’m already jammed for time, so why would I want to use what little time I have left to attend another bad meeting that I don’t enjoy. I simply will not do it.
I think most regular people relate to this… though they are afraid to admit it.
I love small groups (community groups, or whatever you want to call them). I've been attending them most of my life and have been active in them for twelve years at PCC. Currently, I am active in two groups. So don't think I'm down on groups. I'm not. I down on bad groups.
Tomorrow I will post another follow up that describes what a HEALTHY group looks like.