The idea of boundaries—or a lack thereof—is something for every small group leader to consider. Which environment works best for your small group? Which context is the best fit for your particular leadership style?
I met with a small group leader this week who had some interesting insight into the importance of structure.
His group began a few years back in the three-week Small Group Launch environment where we establish the biblical foundation for doing life together in community. We also unpack details of what small group community looks like at our church that might be different from other churches.
This structure proved helpful for the original four couples for the first few years of their time together. They thrived, in fact! Then, life change started happening. One couple moved to a new state. Another couple had a dramatic shift in their home life, and things began to change.
The remaining group members wanted to stay together, so they invited in some new couples (families) to join them. Over time, the couples and their children have integrated well. And they continue to do life together nearly five years after the group first began.
But something is different. Something that was hard for the leader to wrap his mind around initially. After months of processing and wrestling, he landed on what’s different. The new couples don’t have the same understanding, the same commitment to the group’s structure.
This isn’t a bad thing, necessarily. But it is something the leader feels a strong desire to re-establish among his group—a commitment to everyone understanding the importance of group structure. His desire is not to be heavy-handed about it. Rather, he sees this as an opportunity to bring the group members closer together, and moving in the same direction.
Structure; without it, a small group can be good—but likely, will struggle to be great.