Should small group claim autonomy?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by piaairline, Apr 26, 2006.

  1. piaairline

    piaairline
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    I have a question that's been bothering me for some time. One of our church's small group is becoming autonomy in nature, i.e. not responding to the leader's call or following the recommendation of the co-workers in terms of content of the Bible study. The leader has stopped attending the group leaders' meetings.

    Should this be taken as
    1) granting some power to the small group leader because he/she knows what is needed in the group,

    or

    2) potential misguidance that might lead the group astray?

    Your call?
     
  2. NateT

    NateT
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    #2 -- Small groups are to be ministries within the church. I would no sooner allow the nursery to "go astray" and become autonomous.

    Now, that the leader has stopped attending the leaders' meetings might not necesarily be an indication of rebellion. Perhaps he is not planning on leading much longer and feels like a lame duck. Perhaps he feels that these meetings are not an effective use of his time, or perhaps he is causing problem.

    To answer your question, a small group is not an autonomous unit. But do not jump to conclusions as to the motivation of why he might be missing meetings.
     
  3. Gold Dragon

    Gold Dragon
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    Our church has about 10 different small groups. None of them study the same thing and we don't always get them all out to small group leader's meetings but usually usually not because of philosophical differences.

    But I think trying to impose uniformity on small groups is almost counter to the purpose of small groups which creates intimate and unique environments for community and discipleship that can meet different needs in different ways. Sometimes we will push for all the small groups to study the same thing for a short period of time and it doesn't always fit into what one particular group is doing at that time.

    That isn't a problem with good communication since our leadership sees its role as assistance and support for small groups and not necessary as the decision making body for small groups. With that attitude, small groups are usually very responsive to volunteering help to the larger body of the church when they are made aware of the needs.

    However, communication and dialogue is important among small group leaders and for small groups to stay connected to the greater body of the local church. At the same time, the emphasis is on respectful dialogue where the leadership listens to small groups and small groups listens to leaders. I guess it helps that our church is small enough that most of the church leaders are also small group leaders so there is less of a problem with communication.

    Some churches see communication as a one way thing: leadership dictates what small groups do. I think that is a recipe for problems.
     
  4. webdog

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    I agree that the small group leader falls under the leadership of the church. A small group is meant to be an intimate group of people, but not autonomous.
     
  5. Ransom

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    piaairline asked:

    Your call?

    Even if the content and leadership of the small group is pure as the driven snow, it seems to me that as the leader of a church-sanctioned small group, he ought to respect the leadership structure of the church and attend the meetings.

    If I Ran Things (I do not), then I would inform him, kindly but firmly, that if he wishes to continue to lead his group under the auspices of the church, he will start coming to leadership meetings like everyone else.

    Even if the group were an unofficial one, he is not autonomous. If bizarre doings were afoot in the group, he/it would still be answerable to the church and subject to discipline if it came to that.
     
  6. tinytim

    tinytim
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    Now there's a thought... a kids in the nursery doing whatever they want! [​IMG]
     
  7. Hope of Glory

    Hope of Glory
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    That's the key right there. Although I'm a proponent of small churches (and even home churches, which seems to be the NT norm), if they are going to operate under the auspices of the church, then they need to abide by the rules.

    If they don't want to abide by the rules, then they need to become truly autonomous.
     
  8. rjprince

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    Nursery kids? Our nursery motto is, "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be CHANGED!"
     
  9. rjprince

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    BTW, A group leader who claims autonomy over any group within a church is a split waiting to happen. What about "obey them that have the rule over you"? or "Mark them that cause divisions and avoid them"?

    If this group leader is resisting the leading of the Elders (the real Bible term for the office), he needs to be addressed one on one, two or three on one, and if he will not listen, it needs to become a matter of church discipline...

    Or maybe, just ignore it. See if it goes away all by itself! Yeah, right.

    Put ten sheep in a room. Add one sick sheep. Do the healthy sheep make the sick one well? or does the process work a little bit differently than that? Not 11 healthy sheep, but 11 sick sheep. Get the sick one ISOLATED and treat the condition before allowing him freedom to roam among, or worse yet, be a leader among the general population of the Body...

    It is not a matter of pride, it is a matter of Biblical authority and order! The individual priesthood of the believer does not mean that insubordination or rebellion should never be addressed and dealt with.

    We are often so afraid of hurting someone by acting that we allow many more to be hurt as a result of our NON-ACTION as leaders. Of course there are those leaders who over-react to any little thing. That cannot be good either...
     

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