Making Community Work: Part 1, Constant Flux

Solano Community Church is emphasizing home groups this month.  As we grow in numbers, home groups become more and more important to discipleship.  We’ve never wanted to be that church where people merely “attend” on Sunday but see little impact on the rest of their lives.

Sunday worship and weekly home group are meant to reinforce each other.  On Sunday, we worship and pray together with people we really know (because of home group) and, via the sermon, we begin a conversation about an important biblical topic.  During the week, that conversation progresses as we meet to encourage each other to apply the scriptures in our daily lives.

That’s the vision. Sometimes, however, the complexities of home group relationships can get in the way of accomplishing it.  Our experiences, families, cultures, giftings, life-stages and many other factors influence how we view community.  And these views don’t always mesh with the others in our group.

The result is that healthy community always ends up being a bit of a balancing act, an assemblage of dynamic tensions that never fossilize into a rigid lattice of predictable, wooden relationships.

So, what makes for a successful home group? Perhaps one of the first steps to healthy community is to recognize the simple reality that communities are always in flux.  As a home group, you’ll never get to a place where the relationships have become so settled that they no longer require thought and intentionality.

Fluctuation is normal.  Adjustment is normal. Tensions are normal. Sometimes community will be harder, sometimes less so.  But we don’t even get to determine the timing of those shifts in most cases!

We shouldn’t fear, however. The New Testament is saturated with talk of community and relationships precisely because healthy community does require constant vigilance.  We’re not the first ones to have experienced this dynamic.

In fact, it’s through the dynamism of community that God accomplishes much of his most important work in us.  After years of witnessing him do it, I’ve resolved to make peace with the idea that tensions, competing forces and flux will always be present.

And, instead of seeking the most expedient resolution, I’m learning to ask God to show me what he’s accomplishing through them.  Will you join me?  And together we’ll see the vision for community come to fruition.

In the next post, we’ll look at the specific forces we balance in home group…

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2 Responses to Making Community Work: Part 1, Constant Flux

  1. Jin says:

    “however, the complexities of home group relationships can get in the way of accomplishing it. Our experiences, families, cultures, giftings, life-stages and many other factors influence how we view community. And these views don’t always mesh with the others in our group.”

    God is real and this post could not have come at a more crucial time for me. I haven’t been attending small groups lately making excuses, “I’m too tired”, or “I don’t get anything out of small group.”

    But the real reason I don’t go is because of the fear of rejection and getting hurt. I have been hurt over and over again by my relationships at church ever since I became a Christian 20 years ago. I have done more than my share of hurting too. One would think that churches would be protected from these superficial hurts by some magical supernatural power. But we know that is not true.

    Church is the haven for sinners, broken people. And when broken people rub up against each other, we cut and tear. Pastors, small group leaders, they are broken people too and their cuts are just as sharp.

    Recently a lot of people have been leaving our small group, and you would think this would not bother me at my mature age. But it has been very discouraging. Relationships are hard, Christian relationships are not immune. Even though they are difficult and discouraging, they can also be wonderful.

    So if these tensions and fluctuations are a normal part of small group, I really need to start growing thicker skin. I don’t know the answer but by typing this comment I think I have made some headway. I need to start focusing on the wonderful. I have to stop adding to the hard and difficult and try to add to the wonderful. I can’t do that if I’m not present. I have to go and show my support to those that dare to rub up against other broken people.

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