My son, Reid, closed out his first season of T-ball last night. Fun stuff! We’ve enjoyed a great time together as a family this summer. Although, as a dad and baseball fan, the way they structure T-ball here in Colorado Springs is a bit…shall I say, loose.
Outs are optional. (The defensive team can get a hitter out at first, but the young Albert Pujols gets to stay on the base anyway.) There are no umpires. Every child in uniform takes a defensive position—even if that means you have three shortstops. And nobody keeps score.
This lack of structure created chaos for the kids—and, frankly, for us parents as well. I confess, I’m skeptical of the value of being so loose. Did the kids truly learn about the game of baseball? Did they learn the defensive positions? Did they learn anything about winning and losing? Likely not.
Structure is needed in all aspects of our lives—especially when it comes to small groups. Structure is critical when it comes to both logistical issues (When will your group meet? How often? How long?), and value issues (What does accountability look like for our group? How can we best pray for each other? How will we speak truth to each other?).
For groups at our church, developing your structure through a small group covenant, is something we strongly encourage at the formation of a group.
In her book, Community that is Christian, Julie Gorman writes, “Spelling it (group objectives) out at the beginning is imperative for the survival and progress of a group.”
Has your group spelled it out? Have you talked openly and honestly about the logistical stuff? Do your group members have the same thoughts on accountability? Is everyone moving in the same direction?
These are not things to assume when it comes to small group life. A covenant can, and will, help establish some helpful ground rules to work within.