We had a meeting amongst Illuminate (our post-university early-career fellowship) to discuss the merits of even having a fellowship at all. With the small group movement upon us, everything is small groups, and as such even our fellowship is comprised of small groups.
We had to determine why we have a fellowship -- why should we meet, as a large group and what could we accomplish as a large group that we normally would not be able to as a small group. Did we really need a large group? Everyone agreed that we should have a vision statement for what we should be striving towards, as a large group fellowship. So we brainstormed ideas/statements that encompassed our large group vision.
Some suggestions of 'things we can't do effectively as a small group but can with a large group' include: coffee house, evangelical meets, outreach programs, winter/summer retreats.
One of the things we wanted to get away from was making the large group meets into social events, because if past attendance was any indication, it was always the same people showing up to them. The same people that we hang out with socially. We wrapped our heads around the idea that LGM's should have a purpose, and that each SG should hold some sort of "ownership" for the LGM, in order to encourage attendance, not to mention ease the workload for SG leaders.
But also not to have LGM's too often because it would disrupt the pace of SG's themselves. So we had to set dates for those.
And we had to figure out who would be responsible, the need or lack of a need for a coordinator or chair person.
Although I did get the gist of the entire meeting, I didn't take much part in it. I offered no suggestions or clarifications. I basically took a completely passive approach to this meeting, and I will explain why.
The reason is because I was completely distracted by other things. Mainly, my own situation and where I fit into all of this. The entire time I was thinking about my mission statement, my vision for this year.
I kept thinking to myself -- What is Community? Is THIS community? What has kept me from joining a small group? Is it laziness? Pride? Is it what I want? Or is it because it feels like a cop-out from something that I should be doing myself, which is leading my own group? Why are people making fun of me for dressing nicely? Should I join a group or not? And, if I don't join a group, what is the drawback? The drawback is having zero accountability in my spiritual walk. So why I don't I join a group then? Because I'm afraid? Or because there's something more that I want and I feel like if I join a group, I won't be able to do what I want or worse, it will hold me back or occupy my time from doing what I truly want? Or maybe I feel like if I do join one, then my heart will relax and the burden I'm feeling will be relieved just enough that I'll completely give up on my yearning desire to serve the community?
And that's when it hit me. What I'd been searching for, is to serve the community. To serve others. Not just once in awhile but all the time. And regularly.
A group of people who get together every week to serve other people who need serving. And then, through that time of serving others, we grow spiritually. And on days we aren't serving others, we are better equipping ourselves to serve others better. And on days we aren't doing either of those two things, we are praying for eachother, looking out for one another, loving eachother.
And that's just the thought that hit me around the time they were still talking about large groups and the various vision statements. And so for the remainder of the meeting I sort of sat there daydreaming until it was over.