Do you feel like your small group is a hot mess? Me too. Doesn’t it discourage you a little bit? Me too. Sometimes I wonder if anything I am doing is taking effect in my students lives at all. Sometimes, if I am being honest, I wonder if God is working inside them. Is that bad? It’s the truth, I think those things and my bet is: so do you.
Though sometimes I do feel like small group is doing no where I can take a look at Jesus’ small group and see his group was a hot mess as well. Take a look at some things the disciples did:
- Peter rebuked Jesus for saying He was wrong about Him dying. (Mark 8)
- Jesus came back at Peter because He was over stepping God’s will and saying dumb, human things. (Mark 8)
- Thomas doubted faith, Jesus and the resurrection. (John 20)
- Peter got heated and said things that were not correct. (Almost every time Peter spoke in the Gospels)
- The disciples fought among themselves during group time. (Luke 22)
- Jesus called out behavior of his disciples. (Mark 9)
- Peter denied Jesus. (John 18)
- They didn’t understand when Jesus taught certain things. (When he taught about his death and resurrection)
- They fell asleep during prayer. (Matthew 26)
I’m sure you get my point. Even Jesus’ group was dysfunctional and all over the place and I am sure there were moments of frustration, just like in our small groups. But the one thing I think we can learn from Jesus when it comes to leading His group was that even in the moments of craziness and dysfunctional behavior, He didn’t let that limit His view of what they could become and did become. He took a group of guys who messed up and they spent a ton of time together, and it gets messy just like our small groups but Jesus saw what they were becoming and the process was messy.
Same with our small groups. They are messy. It is years of process. Try and see what they can become. Try to see who they are becoming in Jesus. If you can’t, pray for God to give you patience and that God is working in their lives even if you cannot see it in the moment. The disciples were messed up people just like us, just like our students, but they had a leader who stuck with them, taught them, guided them, and was able to see the fruit of their work and His work in them. I believe the same happens when we are faithful to Jesus, we are faithful and patient with our students despite not seeing results at the moment, but praying for what they can become in Christ and see the effect they have in the lives of the people around them in the future.
This is what is exciting about the messiness of small groups. This is what is exciting with looking at Jesus’ group and when we can look at ours as well.