I get asked quite often if there are good reasons to cancel a small group meeting. Sometimes I’m being asked by small group leaders who are looking for an excuse. Some of the honest excuses are:
I’ve had a hard week at work and I need a break from people.
- There’s conflict between two group members. I just don’t want to be in a room with that much tension floating around.
- My wife and I just need a chance to be together, without anyone else.
- This is my only night off this week, I’d like to sit and do… NOTHING!
A few of these are good reasons to cancel group, in certain seasons for sure. You may need to get the two conflicting parties together for a reconciliation conversation (The group would rather you help to settle differences than come and deal with the uncomfortable tension.). If you’re feeling overwhelmed by life and your group members live the same kind of lifestyle you do, you’ll probably find that most group members will celebrate a night off (and the group will be much more engaging the next time you meet).
There are better reasons for cancelling a small group meeting:
- The group has become too self-focused. Cancel the meeting and ask group members to take a pre-Christian person or couple to dinner.
- The group needs a good dose of fun. Cancel the regular meeting and go bowling, to a movie, etc…
- The group is at a point in the group life when they know one another when involved in spiritual matters but really haven’t experienced one another doing something recreational. Cancel your small group meeting and do card night, or game night. Knowing only one side of someone is not knowing someone at all, especially if they come and put on their “spiritual mask” each time the group meets.
- The group is going to go help the poor.
Jesus spoke a lot about helping the poor. Most groups don’t even think about it.
The attached video is of The Bridge in Spring Hill, Tennessee, a suburb of Nashville. This is the church my wife and I gather with. Almost every small group in our church cancelled their meeting so that the people in the group could be at Room in the Inn, a ministry for the homeless in Nashville. I assure you, the groups that cancelled their meeting and worked together to minister to the poverty stricken are stronger groups for it.
By the way… Because we made this part of group life, rather than asking people to give another time slot in their already busy schedules, almost half of our church was there.