At Landstown Community Church, we call our small group ministry LIFE Groups. This is not just a clever description. It is a desire on our part to explain what small groups, or any other church ministry, are all about. In speaking about small group ministry, Reggie McNeal (in his book The Present Future) makes the following statement: “Effective groups where people grow allow people to declare to each other what is going on in their lives, what they’d like to see going on in their lives, and what kind of help and accountability they need to move toward their hopes and away from their frustrations.”
This is a predominant reason why many small groups resort to Bible studies and discussions using various prepared curricula. We are not prepared to deal with what is happening in our lives. Our lives are a shambles, or close to it. We use small groups or church as an escape from life, so “declar[ing] to each other what is going on in [our] lives” is not going to happen.
I believe that church should be about life, whether it be in the large group gathering or the small group. We gather to worship because we recognize that we are not alone in this universe and the One who has the power to do anything about our lives is worthy of our adoration. We submit ourselves to the preaching and teaching of the Bible because we recognize that this Word is a message of life. We share in fellowship events because we recognize that we need others in our lives to make life worthwhile. We gather in small groups, not because we need more Bible study, which we probably do; but because we need to share our lives with others who can help us “move toward [our] hopes and away from [our] frustrations.” We need others in our lives who will hold us accountable for how we live our lives. Do we want others to hold us accountable? Not most of the time; but we need them to do it in order for us to be successful… living our lives.