Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Fundamental Questions

I received a lot of small group questions at church this weekend. It’s a good thing when people ask me why we do things the way we do at Woodmen Valley Chapel. It gives me an opportunity to explain the subtle nuances of our structure and style of small groups.

Our groups are not something out of a futuristic sci-fi film. Instead, they’re based on the elements practiced by the early church. In Acts 2:42, first century Christ-followers were intentional about studying, experiencing fellowship with one another, breaking bread together, and praying. That’s the foundation of small group life.

Yet how we form and set these groups in motion varies from church to church. Some like a geographic model. Others prefer an interest-based approach. And we form our groups in yet another way—by life stage.

So, if you’re a young married couple, you’ll be in community with other young married couples. If you’re an empty nester, you’ll meet weekly with other empty nesters. For those of us somewhere in the middle, we’ll also be connecting with people in a similar life stage.

Is our life-stage structure perfect? Of course not! A life-stage group cannot meet the expectations of everyone. It won’t provide built-in babysitters. Everyone won’t have a personal mentor. You won’t all live in the same sub-division. And everyone is not going to fire up the Harley for a weekend riding excursion.

Yet this small group structure works for our church because we place a high-value on authenticity and truly doing life together. We believe this happens naturally—and most effectively—with those who are working through the same stuff of life.

I received many questions about our structure. Yet for every why and how inquiry, I was drawn back to the fundamentals of small group life—study, fellowship, food, and prayer.

Again, questions are good. They are welcome. The intriguing thing is this; many times my answer is the same. And it’s almost always rooted in the fundamentals. Why? They are the ingredients of Biblical community that have stood the test of roughly 2,000 years!

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