I make light of a few things now and then, stick in a nudge here and a pun there. But this is not one of those times.
There are some amazing people doing even more amazing work on this earth to help people who would otherwise not be able to help themselves. I am talking about the addicts anonymous programs setup for alcoholics, gamblers, drugs, and pornography just to name a few.
But what about the Christian, the person who doesn't have any of these "addictions"?
We know that we are all sinners by nature. I mean no matter how hard we try to be good, we sin. It is all but impossible to not too. We can't help it, without help and guidance from others like us and leaders in the subject, we will continue to sin our way to hell.
Small groups are the key.
Like church, it's not a fix all, but it better mimics what Christ had in mind when he talked about teaching others. The issue is, many people are not getting the real spiritual growth that the small group was designed to give. The small group is changing from the biblical discussions to another form of Sunday school. It's just held a someones home instead of the church. Small groups were meant to be much more. Things like prayer walks, working in a soup kitchen together, block parties for the unchurched, and mission trips are all fantastic and very powerful things, provided that the group is close enough to do them. Small groups seem to be getting more disconnects and out of touch, but I think lack of outside involvement is only part of the problem. People are just not getting those life changing moment in their small groups anymore.
Basically, there are two factors, regardless if the topic, that dictate how profound and enlightening the small group experience will be.
There needs to be a strong group leader. This is the obvious one. The better the leader is in preparation, spirituality, transparency, leadership, growth, and presentation; the more attentive and open the small group members will be. But this is not the most important part.
Is the overall participation by the members. The proverbial, leading the horse to water issue. Transfiguration can only happen when a person opens themselves up to it. It really doesn't matter how amazing the study is, or isn't for that matter. What matters is how deeply one is willing to look inside of themselves for what they really feel regarding the questions being asked and the relevant scripture involved.
I have in the past and am now teaching studies that have amazing potential to be truly soul changing topics. Subjects that if a person was to spend a little time and look deeper than the surface of a question, they would start to explore a more profound and amazing part of how our life intertwines with God and our Saviour. But many don't. I am not sure why, maybe they are scare of what they may find. Maybe they are too proud and think that they really don't have an issue. Or maybe they know it would be very hard to face something that they have been hiding and they don't want to open those wounds again.
Most of us already know, but either don't understand or won't admit that God already knows what we are feeling. We're only hiding it from ourselves.
So, if your in a small group do this. Pray about the topic, spend time that week in a quiet place, listen to what God has to say about the study topic. Then search your heart for that deeper meaning to the questions being asked.
..."A farmer went out to scatter seed in a field. 4 While the farmer was scattering the seed, some of it fell along the road and was eaten by the birds. 5 Other seeds fell on thin rock ground and started to grow quickly because the soil wasn't very deep. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched and dried up, because they did not have enough roots. 7 Some other seeds fell where thorn-bushes grew up and choked the plants. 8 But a few of the seeds did fall on good ground where the plants produced a hundred or sixty or thirty times as much as was scattered." (CEV)
If you are not in a small group I strongly suggest joining one. And if you are in one I suggest you look deeper and not think of it as a class but as a discussion for everyone in that meeting to learn more about themselves and Jesus Christ. We do have our own Addictions Anonymous, is called a Small Group, and it's filled with sinners,... just like you.
My name is Tom,...
and I, am a Sinner...
You keep giving us amazing tools and language to help us better find our way closer to You. However, we seem to be blind to the fact that it is us that has to not only choose to make that journey, but also do the work required along that journey. Your grace, love and patience has no bounds, I ask Lord please help us all open our eyes and our hearts to Your will. Help us become the deep good rich soil that is needed to grow strong plants of faith and transfiguration from the seeds cast upon us that is Your word.
In your Glorious Name, We Pray