I am a part of 2 small groups. One of them is on Wednesday nights and the other is on Thursday nights. The Wed night group has been going for a while and everyone in it kinda knows how small group is done and helps make sure that it runs smoothly.
The Thursday night group is a very new group. They are both new to our church and new to small group life. They are the perfect example of the busyness the world loves to put us through. My Wednesday night group meets around 6 and we are usually all headed home by 8:30. The Thursday night group is so busy and their schedules are so packed that we have pushed the start time back to 8:00, and most of them don't usually show up until 8:30. By the time we eat, talk and just get people settled down enough to start, it's at least 9 or some times even 9:30. Don't get me wrong, I love my Thursday night group, but most of the time it is really a struggle to concentrate on what God has for us that night for longer then a 5 minute stretch. There seems to always be something. I am not complaining, because I have seen some great things come from the times when we do concentrate on God, but last night I was just hit with the reality that a small group home study is not a natural thing with all people.
When new people come into an existing group they can just sit back and fallow the lead of the other members that know what to do. When you start a new group with all new members, you find out quickly that things you take for granted are sometimes things that your group does not even think about.
Again, I'm not complaining, I am just reminded that modern day Christianity is a culture in itself. With habits and norms that are especially particular to that culture. I am just hoping that I never get too caught up in all of that, making me unable to reach out to the lost, unchurched or to just some people that are new. It's a little tougher some times, but well worth it.
Just last night we had a child come down stairs and lay across both parents and fall asleep, another child texting the asleep child, the mother of the child answering the text, a conversation about cell phones, a breast feeding, diaper change, conversation about hair and pictures, burping, light discussion about burping, and an unsanctioned bathroom break. All of this occurred during the 20 minutes or so we were trying to have a lesson.
I think God used the time though! It's all good.