I posted yesterday about 5 Reasons I think you should be in a small group. But, being a modern pastor in a culture of tolerance marked by absolute fear of absolutized anything I want to give space for those with legitimate reasons they should not join a small group. Because I am cool, I get where you’re coming from, and I certainly, by no means, under any circumstance would ever dare to suggest with the teeniest bit of conviction that any individual should feel compelled to do anything beyond talk about their faith. Never.
So this one is for you who duck, dodge, and weave your way past every benefit which would invariably burden you were you to join a small group.
1. You’re too busy. I know what you mean. I have so much on my plate, I can’t even figure out where to start eating. I have 23 new episodes from my 23 favorite shows that I have to watch every single week. I have over 1,000 (that’s right, 1,000) friends on Facebook that I have to update on a semi-constant basis with the uber-important things I find online while I am supposed to be working. Those cat videos won’t share themselves, you know! Also, when I am not busy doing those things, my wife and I like to spend a lot of quality time together while I play video games and she pins stuff on Pinterest. If I commit to a small group at church I feel like I might be over-committing myself during the week, what with the five sports, three instrument lessons, and dance class that my two kids have to attend. Sometimes you just have to say no to some things like Jesus, because you are soooooo busy. I get that, man. Don’t let God and family slow you down – keep running no matter what it costs in the end!
2. You’re good! You’re doing fine. I get it. You don’t need a small group like those other Christians. Really, I get it. And I agree. You are good, brother! You are money. You are so good that joining a small group would actually detract from your goodness. You are like standing on the dead center of the pinnacle of your own mountain – one step in any direction must be a step down. So you are absolutely right in avoiding small groups at your church. Do not dare let other people into your life where they might muck things up with their friendships. Don’t get into those icky relationship things where you may have to help, pray for, and be otherwise tainted by people. Protect your perfection, and keep it secret. Keep it safe. Other people don’t need to rub shoulders with you any more than you need to rub shoulders with them. You are just good. Don’t you go changing!
3. There is no group which interests you. Blame the church leaders for this one. They have failed to deliver to you exactly what you want, how you want it, with childcare on the right nights in the right area of town. You were completely overlooked by these holy roller leaders who think a combination of topical curricula, interest based groups, and Bible studies would cover everyone. They treat this whole church thing like it is not about you. I mean, you pay your tithe at a rate of 1.7% on a semi-regular basis every other year, so they should have thought of you. And don’t even get me started on how church leaders think you should start the group you want! What do they think you’re doing here? Next thing you know they will expect you serve someone else with gladness or pray for someone in need. Like you ain’t got needs. No way, man! You stay on the outskirts of true community and all that self-sacrifice stuff. Just keep waiting for other people to come scratch your itch.
4. It is just a little scary meeting all these people you don’t know. This is a fantastic philosophy! This actually keeps you from ever getting to know anyone, anywhere, for any reason. Because you don’t know them! Sure, these group leaders (could be cult leaders) have been approved by the church leadership to lead that group, but you don’t know them yet. And these other group members (could be communists) are all there, and they have all known each other for like ever. At least you think they must have, because surely none of them would ever have stepped into a place unknown! And even if they had once been new to this group, they certainly would not remember what that was like and welcome you to make it easier! Our world is full of crazy people, and for all you know, that small group with the nice leader that smiles and offers everyone cookies could be a judgmental jerk that likes to pick on strangers. Your fear is well founded, and you should never under any circumstance get to know those people you fear!
5. You will do the church thing, but small groups are getting too deep for you. I am with you. Every time I go to the pool I just wonder at all of these people who feel the desire (pathetic need more like it) to go down to the deep end. The kiddie pool works just fine for me, thank you very much! If I want to swim (never badly enough to do it myself), I just float. This is how I do things. When I go to a buffet, I order crackers for my entree. When I ask a girl on a date, it’s a coffee date during the day. When I go fishing, it’s at PetSmart. I never risk going all in, and neither should you. ‘Cause if you do that, you might look like a weirdo that actually cares about something. It is far better to stay safe and sound, wearing your floaties, chillin’ in the kiddie pool. Don’t ever go deeper!
So, guy that has never joined a small group, I want you to know I understand you, and my previous post was in no way meant to be taken as a suggestion for you! It was for those other saps that are into the whole Christian growth and maturity thing.