It seems strange that you have to build a family, but since tradition is so ingrained in us, it seems we kind of have to. Family in a “family” atmosphere is easy and natural. Family in a “church” atmosphere is not for me. So there seems to be some planning or focus needed to get there.
I’m still getting a few responses to my request for advice on our upcoming small group. I’ll share a few new comments below.
Chris at Pondero sent me some thoughts for an example of application:
1. Spend time together socially (perhaps free/fun time, food, games, unstructured conversation)
2. Spend time focusing discussion on needs to be met (study, prayer, simple focused conversation, encouragement)
3. Spend time meeting needs (visit sick, help needy, write cards, encourage, run errands, etc.)
Maybe one or two or three in each meeting as the groups wishes. If there is too much item 1, a leader will need to lead the group back into a more appropriate balance to meet the stated “purpose”.
My stated purpose to Chris was “Building relationships, that extend beyond one or two meetings a week, where there is support for our going out, and our coming together”.
Jason Vana add this:
The best advice I can give is just to allow the community to build naturally. Think of it as a bunch of family or friends getting together to have fun…and watch what happens. When you get people together who love God, eventually they will start talking about God. And it’s so much better when it happens naturally than when it is forced through a message or bible study.
To build a church family (maybe “build” is the wrong word) it looks like you kind of need to just get out-of-the-way. But that might take some planning and effort.
Maybe the effort needs to be focused on getting us together. Then more of the getting-out-of-the-way can be applied once we’re in the same room without neglecting the purpose. A family with a purpose.
I’m hoping to get more advice but if you don’t have any, maybe you could share some experiences with small groups.