Shows Main Idea – This podcast answers how to have a dynamic small group experience, while answering the question about mixed groups or groups where all are the same age.
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We have visited several churches that have small groups. In every one there is a form to express interest and you are asked to provide your age group. Every church I’ve ever been to wants to group small groups according to age. Am I the only one who is confused by this? What is the effectiveness of this method?
I’m not sure if this is done because it is an easy way to group people or because it is the best way. Maybe I am not seeing this correctly and someone could enlighten me.
My husband and I attended a small group where members were of various ages and stages of life. There were grandparents, empty nesters, parents of high schoolers, and parents of small children. In this small group we experienced a tremendous amount of growth, were spiritually challenged, and had accountability.
I enjoyed learning from older, wiser Christians who could say, “We went through that too and this is how we made it.” It seems like if people are all the same age they can share and relate about their issues, but few would have answers or wisdom as to how to navigate those challenges or offer hope.
So my question remains, why do churches want to divide people into small groups according to their age? (For the record, I get keeping singles and married folks separate, but other than that, I’m at a loss?)
Go to our store and download my free eBooklet on how to have true community. It is called from Talk Trouble to Redemptive Communication. It develops a three-part progression from talking to God, talking to each other, to talking in a small group context.
First distinguish between the articles “a” and “the” so you don’t fall into the trap of demanding “the” way when the Bible does not tell us how to do small groups one way.
My “preference” are mixed groups of all ages
- Mixed groups more effectively represent the gospel’s ability to engage all kinds of people.
- Mixed groups prepare Christians for more aspects of life.
- Mixed groups train people to relate well to more of the culture.
Mixed group positives
- Teens can learn from role models, whether older singles or married couples.
- Singles can learn from married couples, which is a huge plus since most of them will spend most of their lives married.
- Young marrieds can learn from older and wiser married couples.
- Middle age couples can learn how to serve those who are much younger than they are, plus they can maintain an appropriate level of cultural relevance, which could maximize their cultural engagement.
- Older people can offer much wisdom to everyone while learning from everyone, as well as being served by those who are more able to help them.
Multiple contexts for dynamic groups
- Corporate meetings
- Small group meetings
- Couple to couple (or leader to singles)
- Guy to guy meetings
Small group imperative to be dynamic
If the culture of the church does not have a transparent, vulnerable, honest, courageous, charitable, authentic gospel DNA, it will be hard to build a sanctification group.
A relational small group will have a hard time surviving in a larger church body that does not value, model, and practice a larger sanctification culture. This begins with the leadership, specifically the husbands and the wives.
A few graphics for you
Small group contexts 01
Small group contexts 02
Two types of doing care: community or one-and-done meetings