You’ve been looking for your car keys for an hour and your spouse swoops in and finds them on the kitchen table in 30 seconds. You’ve searched every crevice of your couch for the TV remote that ends up being on your entertainment center (where it belongs). You can’t find your reading glasses that are sitting right on top of your head.
You know the feeling: that thing you’ve been looking for has been right in front of you the whole time.
Often “the seeing” comes from a change in perspective. I’ve been thinking about how this relates to small groups. Here at Milestone, we believe growth happens in groups. But the reality is, people have hang-ups when it comes to getting involved in a small group.
Over years of leading and pastoring people, here’s what I’ve learned about the three biggest barriers to joining a small group:
1. I’m too busy.
Listen, I’m living where you’re living. With today’s culture of busy schedules, long work hours, and running our kid’s taxi service, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and exhausted by the end of the day. Getting back in your car and driving to another “meeting” might not sound that appealing…or flat-out impossible.
To be honest, we hear a lot of talk about “time management” these days. I’ve found that the amount of emotional capacity we have to relate to those around us is a direct result of how we manage our energy, not merely our time. This is critical.
Can I suggest something to you? Give yourself permission to prioritize what’s important.
I shared Hunter’s story last weekend. He was in the middle of planning a wedding and didn’t feel like he had the time to join a small group last January. But he took a step of faith and agreed to not only attend a group, but host one. And God has radically transformed his life and his family.
If you’ll make attending a small group for the next 6 weeks a priority, God will meet you there. I’ve seen it happen time and time again.
You may feel empty when you walk in the room, but I guarantee you won’t feel the same when you walk out.
When we take the time and create the margin to study His Word and do life with others, we are actually filling up our spiritual tank. This is time well spent–you won’t regret it!
2. I’ll feel out of place and won’t know anyone…I’d rather stick to where I feel safe.
You know that familiar feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you walk into a room and don’t know a soul? I get it. I’ve been there.
Maybe you slink in and grab a seat in the back hoping to draw as little attention to yourself as possible. Or you reach for your phone, like you just received a very important text you need to respond to. It gives you something to do and you’re hoping it gives off the vibe–“I’ve got friends. People like me.”
Stepping into a new environment can get scary–even painful at first. But growth always requires steps. We can be sure, if we always stay where we feel safe we’ll never grow into who He’s called us to be.
“But, pastor, what if they find out I’ve got problems?”
Let me help you out here: We’ve all got problems! You sit in there long enough and you realize that everybody’s just trying to live this thing out just like you. We’re all works in progress.
We are meant to do life together. When we want to quit, we always quit alone. We never quit in groups.
This is how God designed the Church. It should be a safe place where you can be honest, share your challenges, wrestle with your doubts and experience authentic relationships. And you quickly find out that the relationships you make will start to feel like family.
I encourage you to give it a try. Take a step of faith and see where it takes you.
I heard a story of one of our young adults, Haley, that attended a small group for the first time and didn’t know a single person. She was out of her comfort zone, but decided to take a step. Since that time, she has grown in her walk with Christ alongside people she now considers to be some of her best friends. That gets me fired up–that’s what this is all about!
3. I’m just not a “small group person”.
I’ve led countless men’s development groups over the years. The story is always the same. At the beginning, the men wonder what it is, they don’t want another meeting, and they don’t want to get up early.
But after a few weeks they realize the value of meeting together, sharing their problems and processing the Word together. It never fails, at the end of our time together they don’t want to stop meeting. In fact, many of them will continue meeting together long after the group has ended.
You want to know the number one reason why we should be “small group people”?
Plain and simple: Jesus was a small group person.
- He lived life in one.
- He always sent His followers out in groups.
- He promised whenever 2-3 gathered in His name, He’d join them.
He knows what we need better than we do.
If you are still on the fence about joining a small group, I encourage you to give over your fears and insecurities to God. He can handle them.
And then take a step.
What you’re looking for just might be right in front you.
To join a small group visit our FIND A GROUP page online.