One of our group leaders was beaming: “My group is fantastic!”, she said. “There is so much life and energy when we gather, it is so different than my old group.”
What a contrast! Six months before this same leader had disbanded her group, and was not sure she wanted to continue leading. She was even unsure the cell idea “worked”.
As we talked together, she said that her former group had grown old and stagnant. People showed up in body, but were more interested in talking about their kids’ school programs or selling their house than how Christ was at work in their lives. They weren’t pagans, just complacent and distracted.
The leader tried a lot: fasting and praying for them, getting the members physcially on their knees during the meeting and spending the meeting in prayer, sharing her own experience with Christ…nothing changed. There was no life change happening, no energy. No one went on to the Encounter Retreat, no one progressed to the Equipping Track, no one invited anyone to group. The group members showed up sporadically, and the leader started to dread group meeting night.
Finally, she told the group she wasn’t going to be leading any more, and ended the group.
She found one other spiritually-searching woman and started doing one-on-one discipleship with her. It was a breath of fresh air for her to be working with someone who wanted to grow. After a few months, another woman joined them.
Then she decided to launch a new group by inviting several new worship attendees to join the three of them. Ignition! After only a month, three of those group members have attended the Encounter Retreat, and the group is alive. They share about their growth in Christ, they want to reach out, they want to move ahead, they are healthy! And the leader is glowing.
Our learning: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Sometimes you just need to get some new dogs.”
Some long-standing groups need to die, and the group leaders need “permission” to end a group without guilt.