In our hyper-individualistic culture sharing anything remotely private almost sounds scandalous. But we all know that only when we get real do we really change. What would it look like to place yourself in a relationship where you share your deepest struggles? This can happen if you’re willing to make your Small Group “smaller.”
What is True Community?
Community is regular, and it’s authentic.
Groups should be characterized by regular interaction in the daily, normal rhythm of life. Sharing the day-to-day, mundane activities allows us to be regularly involved in one another’s lives, but also authentic about what is really going on in our lives. We need to make sure we are intentional about sharing. In his excellent book Gospel-Centered Discipleship, Jonathan Dodson states,
“Look for opportunities to talk about the deeper things in life, to love people well by listening to their struggles, doubts and fears…be transparent and authentic with them” (p.112-113).
I couldn’t agree more. So, let me ask you, how are you doing this with the people in your Small Group? One way to live in deeper authentic community is by carving off part of your group to intentionally do this. You may have a “Small Group.” But you can also form a “smaller group.”
Form a Smaller Group
Throughout Gospel-Centered Discipleship, Jonathan Dodson speaks to the importance of having a close, inner circle of people in your life who know your secrets, the deep things that you struggle with.
Dodson recommends having what he calls “Fight Clubs:” “Small, simple groups of two or three men or women who meet regularly to help one another beat up the flesh and believe the gospel of grace” (p. 121).
These smaller groups don’t need to be called a “Fight Club.” That’s Dodson’s term. But this circle of one or two others can be characterized as being a place to intentionally share your fight with sin. Those in your circle will know where you struggle with sin, and they can be the best people to keep you accountable in the battle.
How to Do This in a Small Group
During your regular gatherings as a Small Group, consider breaking off into smaller groups of the same gender. While it’s natural to gravitate towards a certain one or two people because of a similar personality or temperament, these smaller groups help set the environment specifically for accountability and discipleship.
This “smaller group” doesn’t necessarily have to be done in your Small Group. It could be a close friend or mentor. But the point is to find those few people in your life with whom you can share vulnerably and who will keep you accountable.
Just Being Trendy?
I realize that as a millennial talking about being authentic and being vulnerable with those whom you do life with can sound trendy. But God designed believers to live in community with one another, and it wasn’t to chit-chat about common interests. God’s desire for each believer is to grow more in Christlikeness and has chosen honest community to facilitate that growth (Gal. 6:2, James 5:16, 1 John 1:7).
In a world rampant with masking sin and its consequences, the people of God need to be even more diligent in the fight against sin. We should seek one-on-one discipleship on a consistent basis. Jonathan Dodson says of community,
“Although God ultimately causes growth, God has chosen the community to facilitate that growth…we grow together” (p. 111).
Take This Challenge
Do you have people in your life with whom you share how you are fighting sin and growing in godliness on a regular basis?
I want to challenge you to consider committing to a “smaller group” during or outside of your regular group time as a place for one-on-one discipleship. This intimate setting with one or two other believers will allow for true transparency and growth.