Tonight we began our small group meeting playing a game of charades as an icebreaker. Guys vs. girls. Girls won. Lots of laughing. Good times. Then we discussed three Scripture passages, looking at them to answer the question, “Why do we meet as a small group?” Read through these yourself, reflecting on that same question for your group:
Hosea 6:6 (The Message)
I’m after love that lasts, not more religion. I want you to know God, not go to more prayer meetings.
Amos 5:21-24 (The Message)
“I can’t stand your religious meetings. I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions.
I want nothing to do with your religion projects, your pretentious slogans and goals. I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes, your public relations and image making.
I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music. When was the last time you sang to me?
Do you know what I want? I want justice—oceans of it. I want fairness—rivers of it. That’s what I want. That’s all I want.”
Isaiah 1:13-17 (The Message)
“Quit your worship charades. I can’t stand your trivial religious games: Monthly conferences, weekly Sabbaths, special meetings— meetings, meetings, meetings—I can’t stand one more!
Meetings for this, meetings for that. I hate them! You’ve worn me out! I’m sick of your religion, religion, religion, while you go right on sinning.
When you put on your next prayer-performance, I’ll be looking the other way. No matter how long or loud or often you pray, I’ll not be listening. And do you know why? Because you’ve been tearing people to pieces, and your hands are bloody.
Go home and wash up. Clean up your act. Sweep your lives clean of your evildoings so I don’t have to look at them any longer. Say no to wrong.
Learn to do good. Work for justice. Help the down-and-out. Stand up for the homeless. Go to bat for the defenseless.”
Then we discussed three simple questions:
- What does God not want?
- What does God want? What is He pleased with?
- What can we learn from these Scriptures as we plan for our group life this fall?
We had a great discussion that moved us to action. Now here’s my own application:
God is not pleased with us just because we show up at a small group meeting or a weekend service. That’s why small groups must be more than just a meeting. A healthy small group is about loving God and one another, including those outside our groups. A healthy small group is about living for God and carrying out Christ’s mission, not just a weekly meeting. And a healthy small group is about justice and mercy for outsiders, not just another meeting for insiders. A healthy small group is real people in real relationships making a real difference. They don’t play small group charades.
I love how Warren Wiersbe put it in his Bible Exposition Commentary of the Old Testament: “No matter how many people attend religious meetings [small groups], if the result is not obedience to God and concern for our neighbor, the meetings are a failure.”
What do you think?