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Small Groups – The Individual

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I doubt there has ever been a day or society more dysfunctional than the one we are living in today.

Children are growing up in homes with absent and all too often abusive fathers and mothers. These children grow up in an emotionally or physically abusive atmosphere. One recent statistic stated that 1/3 of the homes in America are verbally abusive homes. Where husbands stop short of hitting their wives, but instead wound them with words that cut deep into her heart and emotional make up. Many husbands are grown men with childhood scars that leave them wounded little boys for the rest of their lives. These same men are often emotionally unable to minister to the sensitive needs of their own children and thus a new generation of dysfunctional adults are born.

The individual is wounded, emotionally scarred and hurting spiritually. There is in America a vacuum of need in the individual’s life. It may well be said that there has never been a time when this vacuum has been greater.

We have a Savior who can answer the needs of the individual, yet with this wonderful touch of God on our lives, we are all too often unable to transfer God’s loving touch to the hurting, needy individual.

Where is the catalyst that will bring Christ to this hurting world? The catalyst is the Church, yet the catalyst is sometimes unable to accomplish her part. We have to ask ourselves, why? The disciples tried their best to shut Blind Bartimaeus up. They were so inebriated with their own relationship with Jesus that they almost angrily tried to shoo Bartimaeus away. Never noticing his need, they said, “Leave the Master alone”.

The individual in America is an emotional mess, with wounds and scars that alcohol, drugs and psychologists cannot heal. The Church is this person’s only hope. However, in the traditional church setting, the individual is not always wholly ministered to. Many people have needs that cannot be completely met in the traditional church service. If a silent poll were taken in the average church, I believe we would be surprised to hear what some people would say concerning their personal, spiritual and emotional needs being met.

In the Small Group setting, the individual has an opportunity to not only be ministered to, but to minister to others. The Bible does tell us to “edify one another”. A true family unit is developed when adult members share in the responsibility of preparing food for fellowship times, praying & worshiping together, caring for the children of the group, and hosting meetings in one another’s homes.

In the average small group setting, 8-12 adults gather to share their input and thoughts on a particular scripture or important topic. Every individual is encouraged to open up and share what they feel.

It is amazing how quickly most people respond to this type of ministry. Often, people who were thought to have been shy and too introvert to interconnect , instantly open up and become the main communicator of the group. This individual who may not have been recognized much less given the opportunity to exchange edification in the traditional church setting, is made to realize they have value and worth to the rest of the group. They soon come to appreciate that they are a necessary part of the ministry that is exchanged in the Small Group setting. Value is given to a life that may have otherwise been valueless.

If you want to truly bless someone. Let them know they have value. Let them know their opinion matters. Tell them they are important to the whole and without them the rest would be incomplete.

We need to realize that the body of Christ has many members. Believe it or not, there are people in your congregation who can and will minister to the individual if you empower them to do so. We may complain that “nobody” else in the church does this, but if all truth is told, we have really not shown how or encouraged them to do it.

We want revival! We want lots of people. We want crowds. However, the bottom line is this. If we are not able to minister to the needs of the individual, the Lord will not entrust us with the crowd.
 

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