Reluctance to Join a Small Group

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by CarpentersApprentice, Jan 8, 2008.

  1. CarpentersApprentice

    CarpentersApprentice
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    I have been in a few small groups in the past. As long as it is a Bible study everything seems to be fine. But, usually, people also begin to relate personal and intimate details of their lives and problems they are having.

    This almost always leads to these people talking about how others have hurt, or disappointed them. Which then often leads to people talking about how others are - in their opinion - engaging in various anti-social, destructive, or otherwise un-Christian behaviors.

    At this point we have gossip masquerading as prayer requests. This is where my reluctance comes in. Knowing full well that my problems could end up as a "prayer request" in some other small group, there is no way that I would tell any of these people any of my personal struggles.

    Your thoughts?

    CA
     
  2. D28guy

    D28guy
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    Sounds like you have been in some bad small groups. The ones I have been in we stuck with the study of the scriptures that was the reason for the group.

    If I was you I would give them a try again, and just gracefully remove yourself if it takes a turn like what you have described.

    Or...maybe better...you could share the reason why you are gracefully exiting and it might be a positive, and corrective, witness to those turning it into a gossip festival.

    Mike
     
  3. David Lamb

    David Lamb
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    Do you mean a small church? If so, I must say, as a member of a (as yet) small church, that if everyone thought that way, all small churches would stay small. However I do agree that gossip masquerading as prayer requests is wrong.
     
  4. Eliyahu

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    You are right. In our churches, when the members grow more than 100 ( Baptized believers), we seek the split and development of new assemblies.
    Because we cannot have good fellowship if we have many attendants but just hello and come and go church, saying you come in? I go, and nobody knows the friendships and faith each other.

    Church is not the place where unilateral teaching and listening is the main factor, but the place of fellowship opening up the problems and praying for each other, helping each other.

    Fake Christians are quickly exposed in the small assemblies but in the mega churches they can easily hide themselves and disguise themselves as true believers.

    In small churches, every man can have a chance to pray, worship, take the lead, preach the Gospel inside and outside church, give the testimony about the life after the salvation, testimony about how he was saved, perform the Baptism and Lord Supper etc. A lot of things can be done and participated.

    In the big churches the hireling pastors and assistant pastors can to everything and the attendants can become spectators. They don't have to prepare for the gospel, but would stay as listeners all the time, and the pastors expect their attendants to be satisfied with it.

    I don't think there were mega churches during the Early Church in NY times.
     
  5. Matt Black

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    CA, I suspect that your homegroup's situation is the result of poor leadership or poor leadership training. In our small groups, the leader(s) make it very clear that what is said at the group meetings stays within those four walls. Also, if someone in the group admits to having a personal problem with someone else in the church, then they're encouraged by the group leaders to sort it out with that person rather than bringing it before the group.

    Personally, I'd take the leader of your group to one side and voice your concerns, encouraging him/her to adopt the above approach.

    Also, as Mike says, if there is that kind of introspection week after week, as opposed to Bible study or training for evangelism and personal growth, then that's not healthy. Group meetings dedicated to prayer are important, but they shouldn't be happening every week.
     
  6. BobRyan

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    In the small groups I have been a part of - any request involving "Some other member" of the church always leaves that person and family annonymous.

    For example "pray for a family that is truggling with issues of child raising, or finance or Marriage problems..." -- the "a family" designator or "a church member" designator is as close as it gets.

    And in larger church settings that is pretty much "annonymous".

    With the HiPAA restrictions now days even if it is a public request for a friend or family member not a member of the congregation - only the first name is allowed.

    in Christ,

    Bob
     
  7. David Lamb

    David Lamb
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    What are HiPAA restrictions, please?
     
  8. BobRyan

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    In the U.S it is Health Information (Portability) privacy act recently adopted into law forbidding hospitals and all other health care providers from leaking details about health information. Churches have been gradually moving into compliance with this law because they are at risk if someone hears about a medical condition made public without formal consent.

    Not sure if there is an equivalent law in the U.K.
     
  9. David Lamb

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    Thanks for the explaination, Bob. Although there is similar legislation in the UK prohibiting doctors, hospitals, etc. from disclosing their patients' details, I have not come across this being applied to churches or to prayer.
     
  10. Sopranette

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    Gossip kills trust. It destroys character. Not just the one who is being talked about, but the listener, the speaker, and the church in general. In a small group, sooner or later everyone will know just who is being talked about, no matter if the names are not spoken aloud. And once it's out there, there is no way to take it back. When doing a special prayer request for a specific person in our congregation, our Pastor always starts with, "IF there is someone here who is suffering under the burden of..., please pray for them".

    love,

    Sopranette
     
  11. Salty

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    Thus an excellent reason to emphasis that "John" has an unspoken request.

    The same goes for prayer lists. We don't want to say that Joe and Sally are going to marital counseling or that Dean has a drug problem...


    At least until the individual ( or both halves of a couple) wish for the details to be made public
     
  12. Alcott

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    Are there not persons who hear this and make the assumption that someone in particular is being referred to, and then the speculation begins as to whom it is? That could be as bad as naming the person(s) involved, and possibly worse if there is too much talk about someone it has nothing to do with. Or does this pastor name the same things every time? Because if he doesn't, that would clearly be a key that someone does have such a problem.
     
  13. Sopranette

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    I don't see it that way. I think people are thinking, "Hey, that's ME he's talking about!", even if he has someone else in mind. It's vague enough to encompass several people.

    love,

    Sopranette
     
  14. CarpentersApprentice

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    In retrospect that probably would have been the best way to handle it.

    CA
     
  15. CarpentersApprentice

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    They were small groups in a church of between 500-1000 people.

    Do you mean I should open myself up to gossip?

    CA
     
  16. CarpentersApprentice

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    In a perfect world, I agree that your guidance would work. Unfortunately, clearly setting these requirements doesn't ensure that blabbermouths and busy-bodies will respect those boundaries.

    CA
     
  17. Eliyahu

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    The church must be balanced with all the Truth of NT churches. The size is not the only factor for the evaluation though there are many advantages with small churches.

    There are so many churches which do not distinguish the Born Again Believers and the New beginners who never confessed the faith and were never baptized. I was baptized in a big church after taking the Catechism, but was born again after 5 years since then.
    Churches with mono-pastoral system, legalism, emphasis on the donation and tithe, baptism by sprinkling are always in trouble.

    Our lives are short, and it will be a total waste of time if one spend his or her life time with the wrong churches, and no human being can teach God and no one can improve what God taught thru the Early Church in NT.

    If the church is balanced, there can hardly be problems with personal attack, libels, and gossips.
     
    #17 Eliyahu, Jan 9, 2008
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2008
  18. David Lamb

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    No, CA, I certainly didn't mean that. Gossip is wrong, whether in large churches/groups or small. I just meant (assuming as I did that you were talking about a small church, rather than a group within a church), that if no one ever joined small churches, they would never be anything but small.
     
  19. trustitl

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    Why do we feel like we need to share prayer requests with people we hardly know?

    "for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him."Jesus

    When Jesus said this, he was addressing the self-righteousness of the Pharisees. Perhaps now we need to hear it because of our lack of trusting God. I think SOMETIMES we do it because we want fellowship with people more that we want it with God.

    Please note that I emphasised sometimes. I am just saying this because this was the case in my life. I needed to learn to desire the love of the Father more than the love of people. Just throwing this out to give you all something to consider in your your own lives.

    When speaking about the Pharisees, Jesus said "For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God." Those words cut like a two edged sword on me. Praise God because it exposed somthing in me I needed to learn, and am still learning.
     
  20. CarpentersApprentice

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    Now that spins the topic in an interesting direction: Churches Comply with the Governments Regulation of Prayer.

    OK, now... really, are you serious? A government regulation (or is it a law?) forbids you from stating a person's first and last name in a public prayer meeting because that person is not a member of you church?

    Please let me know the exact HiPPA paragraph. At first I thought it was unbelievable, but - the more I ponder it - I suppose it could be true.

    CA
     

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