Friday, November 19, 2010

After the Break-Up

Last night my wife and I went out with some close friends. We enjoyed some great conversation over dinner, and then went to a comedy show. We all laughed more in one hour than we’ve probably laughed all week. It was a great time!

Why am I writing about this? Because we used to do life in small group community with this couple. We used to get together regularly for Christ-centered discussion, prayer, and interaction. That’s right, we “used to”. Our group stayed together for a year and a half. But it didn’t last. Commitment issues, differing expectations, and contrasting goals moving forward brought the group to an end.

After the initial awkwardness of the small group “break-up”, we re-connected with this couple. (Also, we still talk with everybody from our old group, we just don’t spend time together.) We talked about what went wrong with our group. We talked about what we could have done differently. And we agreed that the relationship we had established with each other within the small group context was worth developing.

In spite of the awkwardness we faced going through our small group break-up, both couples chose to invest in each other. We now get together about once a month. We talk about the Scriptures. We discuss theology. We have game nights. We laugh together. And we enjoy each other!

Not all small group break-ups have salvageable relationships beyond the life of the small group. Sometimes group members grow apart over time. Their needs and interests change. The time you spent meeting regularly in community has come to a close—and everyone is ready to move on. There are no relationships to pursue once the group has ended its run.

What we cannot allow to happen is for a small group break-up to cause divisions or factions within God’s church. The Apostle Paul addressed this potential division in his first letter to the church in Corinth.
“I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.” 1 Corinthians 1:10-11
When a small group disbands, or has a full-blown break up, it can and should be done amicably. And once it’s done, there just might be some personal relationships to continue to pursue.

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