We are very stuck to the idea of small groups these days. Somehow, everyone in the church is encouraged to join a small group - or whatever else you call that: care group, cell group, etc. I have two thoughts about being in a small group. These are my very raw thoughts (ie. unrefined, uncensored), so please forgive the extremity and one-sidedness of this entry, if there are any out there that differ in opinion.
1. Not everyone is made for small groups.
Why do I say that? Probably because I, amongst many others, also am not cut for one. Not to say that I don't like the people; I love my small group members. But how many times has the rule of "what's in here stays in here" been broken? Countless times. Not condemning or judging my past or current small groups or anyone at all, but I think it is just human tendency to talk, and I am guilty of it as well. Sometimes people have a slip of a tongue, conscious or not. I don't think they should be blamed, but we must learn to be wise in knowing what should be said and what shouldn't. And that doesn't sound like what you will do within a trustworthy family, at least to me.
Honestly, how comfortable are you in telling things that are intimate to you in front of 10 other people (and to realize that they do talk, and what you want to hold secret with them somehow becomes known to the public)? So maybe we should stop pushing people to share until they become comfortable themselves, if they ever reach that point. Instead, we must encourage them to participate. In here, what I mean by participate is the action, not so much the words.
The next question is how, and what kinds of action? My suggestion: what about hosting a small group at the orphanage? You have your prayer and sharing right before you put what you have learned right on the spot. The problem: we are too lazy to take one step to organize this, we like the stability and consistency of our current small group; it is comfortable because there's no action involved, and our faith is not being used and stretched. We don't have to engage the world with our faith, and that often feels safe.
2. Our small group has become boring.
What do I mean by boring? Let's compare to the risk-taking, danger-inducing small group that Jesus led in the first century. Thirteen people went everywhere together, fasting, eating, celebrating, learning, driving out demons, healing the sick, standing up against the current ruling, etc. Our small group right now is pretty much confined to sitting down in someone's house, praying, discussing, and eating. I wouldn't call our small group "revolutionary" at all. Sometimes, it even feels like a weekly chore.
Jesus' small group went and impacted the world after Jesus left. Don't we want our small group members to be the next Peter, John, etc.? And of course, taking Judas into consideration, you know that if Jesus as a leader could have such a follower, you and I will have multiple encounters with Judases. Nevertheless, their small group went around engaging the people in their world, causing great upheavals in the community for they were doing radical things; our small group, however, often stays within ourselves to feel safe. Don't you want to be a part of a small group that heals the blind man and casts out demons? Our small group must be one that engages the world, and not one that is confined to traditional practices and structures.
Perhaps we need to stop living for ourselves and our church community. Perhaps we need to start living for humanity.