Balancing Truth and Life for Spiritual Transformation in the Community Group Setting
There are two ends of the spectrum that a community group can fall into—truth and life. The job of a community group leader is to balance the two so that no group leans to one side more than the other. For it is in the balance of the two that spiritual transformation happens.
What do I mean by “truth” and “life”. Truth groups focus on doctrine, right and wrong answers, and the accumulation of information. Although never said verbally the group axiom is “He who knows the most, wins.” Leaders expect group members to come prepared with all Bible reading completed and answers filled in. The group time is dominated by a preoccupation with “finishing the lesson”. After all, the more you know, the more raw material the Spirit has to work with when changing someone’s heart. Life groups focus on telling stories, sharing, engaging one another. Everything is rooted in experience. This is the “tell-my-story, help-me-with-my-problems, can-I-talk-about-my-issues, pray-for-me group. Members are rewarded for being “real”—even if they are really wrong.
Spirtual Transformation is where “Truth” meets “Life”. It is about truth that engages life and produces spiritual growth in the community of Christ followers. Truth must become personal and relational. For you as a community group leader the challenge is walking the tightrope—to stand between the tension of truth and life and do both. That is, to make sure truth is very present in your meetings, but also make sure that truth is brought to bear on life in community. You must call members to open their lives to one another so they can be changed. Our community groups are seeking to take the abstract truth given in a Sunday sermon and make it real, relational, and practical for people. And to further wrestle with and come to a greater understanding of the truth that is revealed in God’s word.