The following is a post I wrote several weeks ago for another blog to which I contribute: Equip. It’s the blog for my church so be sure to check it out!
Several months ago my small group got so big that we had to make a decision: keep accepting new women, or cap it off? We’d been together for years and intimacy is a tough thing to build, so we went with the latter. Cap it.
Shortly thereafter we got an e-mail from one of the group members. She’d decided to break off from the group and start a new one. If we were turning women away, then clearly the church needed more small groups. That’s what she aimed to do.
I eventually had a chance to sit down with her and hear more about her thinking. I was pretty challenged by it. When she started a new group it almost immediately exploded. So much so that they spawned an additional two more groups in the following months. She explained this phenomenon as follows:
“The girls knew from the start that God might call some of them out of the group to start new ones. We were praying for that. But in the mean time we responded to our numbers by asking for a miracle of intimacy. Even though our group was big and no one knew each other, we asked God to provide.”
This idea of praying for a “miracle of intimacy” totally blew my categories. We think of miracles in terms of an inexplicable healing from cancer, or surviving a natural disaster, not small group relationships.
The conversation made me wonder if our pragmatism makes faith unnecessary. As long as we have a system, we don’t have to rely on God to provide. Or when we do seek Him, it’s more of a “Lord, please be present in this” approach. We may exercise faith by acknowledging the need for God’s presence, but are we making room for the miraculous? Are we allowing for God to move in ways that make our systems obsolete?
Planning and organization should not be under-rated. God calls us to be good stewards of what we have. But we go awry when our systems turn into limits on where and how God can move. God can provide a miracle of intimacy in small groups that are busting at the seams. He can multiply the proverbial loaves and fishes of whatever meager resources we have. So rather than work from a theology of scarcity or a ministry driven by pragmatism, we should work from a theology of abundance. We already have more than we will ever need.