I like to think of the disciples like hobbits. Bear with me. Matthew 10 paints a picture of a long and arduous journey. The disciples are being sent out into the unknown, with a supernatural task and the knowledge that it’s not going to be easy to accomplish. They don’t really know where they’re going or exactly what they'll face, only that they’ll be flogged and hated, arrested and persecuted.
I can imagine them, the twelve, no bags on their backs or staffs in hand, but the same steely look of determination in their eyes as Frodo Baggins. They hear Jesus' words and they pray together, and then they head out: to heal the sick, drive out demons, and raise the dead. How cool would it be if our small groups looked like that?!
There's a danger that our small groups can become inward focused places. They provide a space to recharge and replenish, and that’s important, but we need to make sure we’re not taking our eyes off the goal.
Small groups are outward focused and mission thinking
If you’re going to your group to chill, hang out with Christian friends and then go home just the same as you walked in the door then you’re doing something wrong. Of course there’s value in spending time with Christians, and small group environments are great for accountability and wisdom sharing, but let’s not forget the purpose.
“What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.”
Our small groups aren’t confined to 7 o'clock Tuesday night; they're designed to equip and encourage, that we might be sent back out into the world ready to live out what we've been called to. Let’s treat them as a place of preparation for a God journey far greater than we could ever imagine.