I attended a small group conference last weekend and it reiterated how small groups are so important if we really want to see real transformation in our lives. It is just too tough to go it alone in this world! The word of the day was “poo.” It seems like a weird word to represent groups but the speaker was sharing how “Small Groups are great … then the people show up! Community is messy!” If I was a new leader, this talk would have terrified me! But reality is, our lives are messy and leaders will be dealing with more and more of the “poo” of the world.
I shared more on this thought with our leaders in our small group leaders’ gathering. We had a great turnout – 13 of our 16 groups were represented! We wrestled with what the purpose of our groups were and how mess can facilitate growth both within individuals and within the community. Basically, our goal is real authentic transformation – not just head knowledge with studies but a true, life-transforming change that the world around us will see and desire! How does this happen? By embracing the messes within our lives and instead of ignoring them, actually attacking them to bring about growth.
We have three types of messes:
1. Sin Mess – when there is a problem between an individual and God
2. Relational Mess – between two or more people
3. Life Mess – death, job loss, health crises, etc.
There is no pat formula for how to handle each mess, but one of the most important ideas was to help identify the mess (what type of mess we are dealing with) and then to help communicate a Biblical goal for redemption of the mess. The example given was when Jesus was asked if the blind man was afflicted because of his fault or his parents’. Jesus replied that it was neither, but instead was for God’s glory. (As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. John 9:1-3) So where are you redeeming the mess in your lives? A member shared recently how he would not have given up this past year of health struggles because of all the spiritual growth that has come from it! Growth tends to not be fun when you are going through it, but it’s so much easier to manage when you are going through it in community! Who are you connecting with to handle the messes of life!?