We are told that the early church was meeting in the temple courts and also in their homes (Acts 2:42-47). They had large group meetings and small group meetings. And in relation to these small group meetings, we are told that they received their food with glad and generous hearts. Literally they possessed a “singleness of heart” or a “simplicity of heart.” There was something about this context of relationships that made their lives less complicated.
I don’t know about you, but I am continually looking for ways to simplify my life. We live in an age of increasing busyness and fragmentation. Small groups offer the opportunity to rediscover the simple joy of friendship.
Small groups are not always easy. They demand a certain degree of authenticity and disclosure. And we open ourselves up to be misunderstood or misrepresented. But avoiding a small group setting is downright dangerous. Proverbs 18:1 reminds us, “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgement.” Many people remain to themselves because they don’t want their agenda to be challenged. When we avoid counsel we head down a dangerous path.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer addressed this matter as well when he wrote “Sin demands to have a man by himself. It withdraws him from the community. The more isolated a person is, the more destructive will be the power of sin over him, and the more deeply he becomes involved in it, the more disastrous is his isolation” (Life Together, 112).
Perhaps you have considered small groups a risky proposition. Let me suggest that avoiding this level of friendship is far more dangerous.