More than 20 years ago, a small group of men (yes, in this case, just men) from my church began gathering once a week for breakfast and talk and just some sharing about our lives within the context of a faith community. We’ll gather again this week, as we’ve done almost every week since then, and a few of the original guys, including me, are still part of the group.
I’m telling you a little about this group because I want to affirm our experience that spiritual growth is a team game. No matter what faith community we call our own, we learn and grow more consistently together than as lone individuals.
Our group started meeting in the home of one of the members of the group. But because he’s no longer a member, we’ve met for the last mumble-mumble years at another member’s home, with my house as a rarely used alternative.
Together we’ve gone through at least one divorce (mine), the deaths of various family members and close friends (and one of our members), the birth of grandchildren, the marriage of many of our children, promotions, new business start-ups, retirements, small and large church crises, world crises and much more. It’s been a quite amazing ride.
The stereotype is that men can’t talk with each other about anything more serious than sports. Well, we do talk a little about that, but we also share many deeper things with one another. We know we can rely on each other. And we laugh a lot, too.
A year or less after we started meeting, we agreed to read the Bible all the way through, skipping back and forth between the Hebrew Scriptures, or Old Testament, and the New Testament. Well, we’re consistent, but we’re slow as all get out. As of this week, we’re just past midway through the Psalms — for the first time. We’ve got lots of books in both testaments still unread as a group. But so what? We’re on no one’s deadline.
I’d be interested to hear about your own small-group experience and whether you’ve been able to stay with one or whether the group became a destructive force somehow. As for me, they’ll have to remove me from our group feet first.
To read my weekly column in the Faith section of The Kansas City Star and my other work, go to www.kansascity.com and click on “FYI” on the left side of the opening page. Then click on “Faith” or on my name.