Having been asked repeatedly over the last couple weeks about this Monday Night Fellowship small group I’ve started at my house, I feel obliged to make some brief mention of it here. The questions have ranged from the practical: “Is child-care provided?” to the more esoteric: “Just what is this all about?”
The answer to the former is easy: there’s no child care provided, but you’re welcome to bring your kids. However, the answer to the latter takes a bit more explanation.
In an age where we’ve never been more connected, thanks in no small part to the rapid technological advances in social media. At the same time, it’s been my observation that many have become increasingly isolated and cut-off from each other. Nowhere is that more evident than in our local places of worship.
To test this theory I recently conducted a poll of 500 Facebook friends of mine who live in the immediate Overton-New London vicinity, all of whom describe themselves as “practicing” or “serious” Christians. I asked only two questions: “1.) Do you attend church on a regular basis?” and “2.) Why or why not?”
You can imagine my surprise when 88 percent answered “no” to the first question. 88 percent! The reasons given are even more revealing.
“I don’t feel comfortable at church,” was a common one, as was: “It’s not relevant to my life,” and “I don’t need church to believe in Jesus.”
Valid objections all, though I would argue they miss the bigger picture. But my issues with the church are for another column.
I believe there is a silent churning at the core of our being… a tormenting need to know and to be known, to understand and to be understood, to possess and to be possessed, to belong unconditionally and forever without fear of loss, betrayal or rejection.
We live in an incredibly fast-paced society that is only gaining speed. Most people don’t have time to add one more thing to their lives but, in spite of the activities that fill their lives, many still feel unfulfilled.
In both our churches and our communities people struggle with feeling disconnected, isolated, busy and broken. People long for a place of healing and wholeness. They want to be accepted and belong. They long for true community, to grow deeper in relationship to God and God’s people.
I believe one possible solution to this is found in small group gatherings. This kind of gathering give people a place to belong, a venue by which we can become what God intended us to be.
Small groups shouldn’t be “one more thing” on our agenda that drains us, but rather a place to be refreshed, replenished, and refashioned into the image of God.
So, for me and my family in the faith, Monday Night Fellowship is just such a group.