She Who Must Be Obeyed and I were talking about our small group at church. It is truly a great group. As we were talking, we realized that we have been leading our group for about five years. We took over for the previous leaders when they moved on to a pastoral position in another church. For most of the previous year, we had been sort of co-leading as he was finishing his seminary studies as well as working a full-time job. This is not the same group we began leading. This is true both literally and figuratively. Of the eight families in the group (including us), my wife and I are the only ones that were in the group back then.
We have seen a lot of changes in our group. Families have come and gone. We seem to be more stable than we have in a long time. There appears to be more unity within the group. Our discussions have been lively and insightful. We enjoy our time together around the table and around the Word of God. For the most part, we really do see ourselves as a family. In his book, The Lost Art of Disciple Making, LeRoy Eimes describes it this way:
When I was in high school, I worked in a bakery. Frequently we would make batches of frosting for cakes and chocolate donuts. I would take great lumps of broken chocolate, put them in a pan, and warm them over a low fire. The chocolate lumps would begin to melt, stick together, and finally blend into one pan full of melted chocolate.
That’s what Christian fellowship is all about. Not a group of people in one building like marbles in a bag, but like lumps of chocolate that have blended together and become part of one another. This only happens through the ministry of the Holy Spirit as He slowly warms our hearts together in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (see Gal. 5:22-23).
There are changes afoot in our small group. It may or may not involve new members. Either Satan is trying to stir up something in our families or God is working in His own mysterious way. I don’t know exactly what this thing is going to look like at the end. Or maybe there is no end. Maybe we will continue to grow and change. In another five years, there may be none of the same families. That will be alright as long as there is the same sense of melted chocolate. That is what I pray for.
For what it is worth, the group leader that left is back as part of the group. That has been a good change we have all enjoyed.
Have you experienced this type of fellowship? What do you think makes it happen or prevents it from happening? Share your experience with us.