Every group has the potential to fall into lifting up idols. Now most of the time we do it without even noticing it but some small groups unintentionally head towards some unhealthy practices that steer away from the original purpose of what a small group is about… Jesus. Sometimes because we have such a good thing, we rely and only look at these certain things that take priority over letting Jesus be the center of our groups. I bet over time you will see groups lean towards one of these 3 things but if we are aware of them, we can help correct the course sooner rather than later.
I see 3 main areas that groups create idols of in small group settings:
- The Leader- Every group has a leader. The leader is the one who pushes the group and creates discussion. Sometimes the leader plays god thinking they need to fix everyone in the group. Sometimes the leaders puts himself on the throne and sometimes the group members do it, either way, this is not the leaders place. The leader is not the center of a Christ-centered group and the leader needs to know it’s not about them leading the group to change, but allowing God to use them to create opportunities for the Holy Spirit to work in the lives of the group members. Sometimes the students rely too much on the leader and not God. the leader needs to be a “pointer”, someone who points everything to God but walk them through it WITH them and not FOR them.
- Curriculum- Now it can sound weird (especially for me because I love it), sometimes curriculum is a huge idol. Curriculum can help us be focused on Christ but sometimes curriculum, if we are not careful, can be the focus of everything. Sometimes we stick so close to what curriculum says that we don’t go with where the Holy Spirit is leading the group for discussion. We fall into the “If it’s not on the paper we can’t talk about it” mentality. This is a sneaky one, but we need to be aware when we do slip into a curriculum-centered group and not a Christ-centered one.
- Community Idol- We want groups to be a great community. I mean, that is their purpose. But sometimes I see the group becoming too much about the community and not much about Jesus. Sometimes students and leaders just hang out, all of the time, the whole time and call that small group. Granted, community is why student small groups is successful but when we get off of the reason in which this community exists, it can be a great idol. Create a great community, but create one that is constantly pointing back to, talking about and learning about Jesus. Because of this, your community will be great.
Don’t let your groups fall into idol mentality. Constantly look at your groups and notice if any groups fall into this thinking. We want groups to know Jesus and these 3 things can detour us away from just that.