My wife and I recently started a small group in our home. I believe small groups are critical to the health of a church, but many small groups are nonetheless unhealthy. Here are some the “diseases” they suffer:
- Insulation-ism. This group is friendly toward one another, but they’re not much concerned about reaching new people.
- Bible study void. One goal of the group is to study the Bible, but they never really get there when they gather.
- Leadership backstab-itis. The small group becomes a “safe” place to do little but criticize church leaders. This kind of small group is often instrumental in church division.
- Hypergrowth. That is, the group has become so large that it’s no longer a small group. It’s a small congregation.
- Shallowness syndrome. The group gathers regularly, but everything they do is only surface level. “Life-on-life” is non-existent.
- Coronation infection. The leader is king or queen, and the small group is his or her kingdom. Few people mess with the leader.
- Silence syndrome. The leader invites participation and discussion, but nobody responds. Were it not for the leader’s voice, no voices would ever be heard.
- Prayerlessness. If the group prays at all, it’s only a perfunctory prayer at the beginning and end of the group session.
- Boredom-itis. The leader is such a boring leader that no one wants to attend. No one does anything about it, however.
- Generation-ism. Every small group is built around a generation or stage of life (an approach I like), but the generations never get outside their own walls to know their own church better.
Does any of these diseases characterize your small group? What other diseases would you add?