As I read books, articles and blog posts on small groups, I don't often read much that points to theology. Most of the time, I find information that is highly pragmatic and aims at helping you and I with the practical questions of how we develop effective small groups. And to tell you the truth, I learn a lot from what I've read over the years. I am a better leader for all the pragmatic information I've gathered.
However, I've thinking about the disproportionate focus on pragmatic issues when weighed against the almost lack of theological reflection regarding small groups. Now I know that most of us have a basic theology of "why" small groups in our back pockets. We all can give one of the two standard reasons why we do small groups. The first being the Trinity and the second a list of the "house to house" scriptures from Acts. But I'm not talking about a "why" theology for small groups. I'm talking about a "what," "how," and "who" theology of groups. Do we have that?
In my experience, most of us don't. Part of the reason for this is that theology has been set apart from the questions of practical ministry. We need theology in order to preach or to teach a class. But if someone is a good leader and has a good prayer life (for some this might be optional), he or she could run most programs in the church. We don't really need much theological reflection to run most programs in the church and this includes most small groups. Even if we are trying to become a church "of" small groups.
We need to reflect on questions like:
• What kind of groups are we aiming to create?
• How does God form people to live out the Kingdom?
• What does the Kingdom of God look like in this local context?
• Who are the people that are a part of these groups?
What kind of theological reflecting are you doing as a leader in the church?
More to come.