How many encounters do you have daily? How many of those interactions are authentic and genuine?
When I joined my Small Group, it was as a temporary group. This meant that after the sermon series concluded there was no expectation to continue as a group. At that time, I was looking for meaningful relationships and wanting to feel connected to something bigger than myself; to feel like I belonged. I didn’t know it at the time, but what I was longing for was true, authentic community.
A Leader Willing to Be Real
At our first meeting together our Small Group Leader asked us to give our testimony and offered to go first. He went on to share very personal life circumstances that led him to Jesus, and I remember thinking, “Dude, we just met. Your living room is full of strangers. Why are you telling us this?”
His vulnerability and willingness to step out in faith set the tone for our Small Group for years to come.
We remained a Small Group after the sermon series ended and continued to dive deeper into each other’s lives by talking through struggles inside of group and living life together outside of group.
There were seasons of inevitable change and times where we had to adjust for new additions to the family, sickness or just busyness. But our commitment to living in community remained.
Along the way I have discovered three truths that have persisted within our group that I believe has contributed to its vibrancy and ability to multiply. This is why I love my Small Group.
1. Vulnerability Is the Way to Real Connection
Loneliness is becoming more and more common in our interconnected world. Everyone longs for their true selves to be seen and heard.
In order to do this, we must remove the masks that become so comfortable: the mask that hides who we really are. Vulnerability is the first step in removing that mask. It’s allowing the other person inside your world, to see your true self. Over time this will bring a sense of kinship that is desperately needed.
2. Sharing Openly Is Always Worth It in a Safe Place
When you find a group of people who provide a safe environment to share your deepest hurts it’s a cause for celebration. Confessing your sin and revealing your desires in a safe place, even for a few hours a month, can be the springboard to greater depth of community that makes the heart sing. This freedom to be the person God uniquely created you to be within a safe community of people has contributed the most to my personal development and spiritual growth.
3. Make the Time to Be Intentional with Living Life Together
Being a part of a community where people can share openly in a safe place will naturally lead to wanting to spend more time together! For my group this looks like girls’ nights, guys’ breakfasts, writing letters, kids’ birthday parties, coffee dates, and tagging along on a shopping trip. This is when living in community is most beautiful.
Amid the busyness of life and our struggles with sin I know there are those who not only want me to succeed but are willing to walk alongside me the whole way.
Where You Can Start
So, what is getting in the way of making deeper connections in your Small Group? May I suggest you take the lead and share something vulnerable. Don’t let Small Group Night be another time to wear your mask. Remove the barriers, create the safe place and make the time to live life together.