The Most Destructive Small Group Ever

Thousands of years ago on this very planet, there was a small group, and as it turns out, this friendly little get together turned out to be the most destructive small groups in the history of the world.

Who was in this group? There was one man, one woman and one serpent.

I am sure they didn’t mean any harm, but the questions were flowing that day. They were innocent quesgossip churchtions. It was just a conversation of inquiring minds, wanting to address a few concerns and clarify some things.

Here is a small sampling of of some the questions that were uttered that day: “Is that really what was said?””Are you sure that is really what will happen if this is done?”

Of course, the facts about who had said what were a little murky, but after all, it was just a sincere conversation between neighbors. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, after Genesis 3:1-7, what went wrong was all hell broke loose, to quote a summary statement by my friend Ryan A. Smith.

Not much has changed. How many church small groups have started with an innocent conversation to clarify concerns about what somebody allegedly said or didn’t say? How many informal meetings have led to all hell breaking loose in a church because there was a snake who was stirring things up under the cover of seeking understanding, or some other passive-aggressive tactic?

Author, Jared C. Wilson, with help from an insightful blog (How to Rescue Your Church in Three Weeks) by Pastor Ray Ortland, tweeted out at least three ways divisive people subtly raise hell in churches by leveraging influence in smaller spheres of influence. He tweets: “You are being a sinfully divisive person if one or more of these apply to you…”

  1. You spend more time talking *about* people than talking *to* them.
  2. You spend a lot of time trying to gather support for your position against people from other people.
  3. Your small group, friendship circle, or other church-related get-togethers amount to little more than grumbling sessions.

I personally have not seen this blatantly happening in the church I pastor, and I hope I never do. But I have heard about this sort of thing happening and it is confusing and destructive. It turns trusting people against each other and it creates angry mobs. After all, just as it was for the most destructive small group in the history of planet earth, it’s hard to know what the truth is when the people you are talking about are not a part of the conversation. If only Adam would have declared the truth that God had entrusted to him. If only Eve would have asked God. If only…

Some people don’t really want their concerns addressed, because if they did they would go to the person they are concerned about. Some people don’t want answers, they just want their way, and the best way to get their way is to cause trouble by asking questions that cause small group conversations. It seems innocent, but it is devastatingly deadly.

Let’s speak truthfully about God and each other, and when we don’t know if we have all the facts, let’s get the whole truth from one another. If we do this, we will glorify God together and love each other, instead of the opposite.

About brentprentice

Brent is the lead pastor and one of the Elders at Eagle Heights in Stillwater, Oklahoma. He has been married to Lacey for 14 years and together they love two sons, Luke and Elijah, and a daughter, Bella.

Posted on December 3, 2015, in The Local Church. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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