June 28, 2012
Allen White answers common excuses
When talking about small groups, I have often heard people remark, "I can't be in a small group because . . ." As soon as I hear those words, I'm sad. Small groups come in multiple shapes and sizes and with various schedules, and I believe they should be able to find one that fits.
One of the most common excuses I've heard (and it may be the same for you) is "I just don't have enough time." Maybe he or she works late, has children in extracurricular activities, or is involved in multiple other ministries in the church. Realistically, there are seasons of life where we are a lot busier than normal. On the other hand, this is sometimes a way of life for people.
While we can argue that we need to teach people how to prioritize and slow down, living life with a less hectic schedule, it's hard to convince someone who's never been in a small group that small groups really are important enough to change their schedule. Allen White offers some advice in our newest download, Making a Case for Small Groups. He writes:
Students are busy, retired people are busy, and parents are busy—we're all busy! "I'm too busy" really means "I have other priorities" or "I have better things to do." People make time to do the things they want to do. If you're hearing "I'm too busy," it simply means they're choosing something over small groups.
In order to move small group higher on their priority lists, they will need to demote or eliminate something else. Most people don't make changes like this unless there are compelling reasons for the change, so give them an opportunity to try out small groups and see why they're important. If you offer groups for a limited time period—like a trial run—and offer groups at times that could fit in their schedules, they might give it a try. Additionally, share stories from small groups at weekend services and from the pulpit. If people see the value of small groups—and not just because they're a fun, social hang out—they'll be more likely to reprioritize.
If you meet someone busy with other ministry work, Allen offers this advice:
Serving in a ministry is a great way to allow God to use us in our church body. It's also a great way to connect new people to your church. When they serve, they feel a sense of ownership. But, activity doesn't guarantee community—just because someone serves as a greeter every week doesn’t mean he or she feels connected or has a safe place to go for support.
Most groups build community around a Bible study. The idea is to create a place where people are known and know each other. They care for each other, support each other, and share God's Word with each other. Can similar goals be met in a group that forms around serving instead of a Bible study? I think so. This is more than ushers joining hands before they pick up their stack of bulletins. Serving teams can share personal needs and God's Word together. This may involve a meeting apart from the serving opportunity. For instance, the ushers could meet every Tuesday night to share life together in addition to serving at weekend services. The worship team could share a devotional time before beginning practice each week. When serving teams gather for intentional community, needs are met without adding another circle of friends or another ministry to the mix.
Overall, Allen reminds us to show people the value of small groups, and to remove any barriers we can that may hold people back. See Making a Case for Small Groups to read the rest of Allen White's article, "Small Groups Aren't for Me!" In it, he answers several other common excuses for not joining a small group.
How have you answered the excuse of "I'm too busy"? Share with us below.
posted by Amy Jackson on June 28, 2012 9:16 AM