Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bible Study...why?

Since I was in high school, I've had a difficult time plugging into small groups in church...you know...the teen groups that meet on Saturday afternoons at book stores...the singles group that meets on Tuesday nights at the local coffee shop...the young adults group that meets twice a month at the house of one of its members.

In 15 years of looking, I've never found a group where I felt I fit in. Black church or White. Weekly or monthly. Long term or short. I've always left these groups at best feeling like I could make better use of my time at home studying on my own or talking with a friend about my latest spiritual issues, and at worst, feeling like I'd just barely survived group therapy. I was always left with flashbacks of middle school, feeling out of place and out of touch, thankful the family dog had taken a liking to me, because it gave me something to bond with.

I made sure to give the groups a chance... after all, maybe I wasn't there just for myself. Maybe God had a bigger plan for my being where I was. Maybe I couldn't see the benefit that I was receiving. Still though, even after much prayer and effort, I was thrilled when meetings were cancelled. Relieved when vacation or work plans made attendance impossible. Bored while sitting and discussing. I began to wonder if it was just me. If my introversion had become more than just a personality trait and had become a liability. I'd never fit into groups...secular, spiritual or otherwise, so it was very possible that I was the issue.

Enter Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Though not a spiritual pursuit, the basic premise was the same. People, strangers getting together in pursuit of a common goal. All at different levels, all developing themselves in their own way...establishing their own relationship with the art. I genuinely believe God led me to it, after much prayer to find a martial art that wasn't spiritually based. I was uncomfortable at first, but always wanted to go back...always felt that I was growing and bonding with the people around me. Always felt like my ultimate goal, though different than those around me, was the same as everyone else's.

It's not something I'm proud of, but even though I'm glad to get up and head out to church every week, and every week, am glad I went, I still haven't a group in which to connect with individuals that gives me the same, or even comparable benefits.

This has me wondering...what is the point of small groups? Is it to connect? Is it to grow and learn? Is it to socialize?

If it's to connect, having groups centered around life stages makes sense on a large scale. For people like me who don't connect based on age, race, gender or marital status, it leaves us a little lost.

If it's to grow and learn, should they be grouped by goal? I think this is what the short term, topic focused study groups are based around...I honestly prefer these.

I believe it's a combination and I believe that's what they should be. I do think though, there is potential for some differentiation from the small-group/once-a-week approach in format. I think there's a lot of potential in online interaction, maybe with monthly/bi-monthly in-person meetings.

I'm not sure what the resolution to my problem is, or if I even have one, but it's still one of the things I pray about most.


  1. Glad you found some spiritual friendships on the journey of discipleship Megan... and thanks for being a fren of Agora