“When surrounded by war, one must eventually choose sides.”
The opening line to a recent Star Wars: The Clone Wars episode (above) struck me as applicable to our discussion. In his comments from a couple of posts ago, Bob ended with “At least we’ll all know where we stand!” One day, we will certainly know where we all stand b/c all will be forced to take up sides at some point.
Over the past few years, I’ve spent considerable time researching and developing small group strategy. I’ve participated in small groups, led small groups, coached small group leaders, and helped churches start and grow small group ministries. Through all of this, I’ve tried to keep the focus on the role a small group plays in the spiritual war we are presently engaged in (Eph 6:12). Unfortunately, the momentum is to think of small groups more as social clubs than army platoons. Small groups ought to be more than friends being friends; they ought to be a means of mobilizing God’s people in our struggle against the “spiritual forces” Paul speaks of.
This trend is another driver toward the need to go back to one-on-one discipleship. If the Church has an effective means to grow people (and the forming consensus is that small groups are not an effective means to grow people spiritually), then small groups can safely be more “communal”. You would train your small group leaders to identify those in their small groups who are willing to be disciples, then take them aside for deeper training or pair them with someone else who can.
To bring this back to where we started, the point is that we in the Church are indeed “surrounded by war”. Not a war with flesh and blood, but with the spiritual forces that are trying (and will ultimately fail) to overcome God’s people. Only the most core of the ‘core’ remember this on a daily basis and live their lives accordingly, yet all of us should.
What does that mean in a practical sense? It simply means taking spiritual growth (i.e. knowing God and his Truth more, developing a Christlike character, and obeying God in all things regardless of the potential sacrifice) more seriously than anything else.
Have you chosen a side? Are you engaging the enemy? If not, will you? If you will, keep coming back and we’ll continue to discuss how we can do that together.