by Joel Comiskey
Celyce and I spoke in Belo Horizonte, Brazil recently. On the way back to our hotel each night, we noticed blocks and blocks of open-air bars and restaurants with young people filling entire streets with drinking, partying, and have a good time. People are wired to have fun! Of course, worldly fun and pleasure without Christ leads to destruction and death. But shouldn’t Christian fellowship be a joyous experience? Shouldn’t it be an exciting Spirit-filled time with a loving heavenly Father who calls us by his name into an eternal family?
When is the last time your group had wholesome fun together? I mean laughed together, ate together, and just had a good time together. Sometimes groups can do everything right: excellent cell lessons, everyone showing up on time, orderly schedules, great cell reporting, and precise multiplication goals. But one thing is missing: fun. The group is boring, dry, and uninviting. The leader is so serious (and sometimes controlling) that people don’t feel relaxed, free, and alive. The members attend out of duty, rather than delight.
Psalm 126: 2 says, “Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them’.” Is your group filled with laughter? What emotions characterize your group? Notice what Proverbs 17:22 says, ” A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Many people today are medicated to dull the pain of depression, bitterness, and injury. The best remedy for many hurting people is a small group of joyful people who hold, hug, laugh, and love, warmth, and a family atmosphere.
Take a moment to reflect on the “fun level” of your small group? What can you do to lighten the atmosphere? Here are some suggestions:
- Start with a meal together
- Have an ice-breaker cell group-several members shares an ice-breaker. Invite non-Christians. Recently my group went out to an inexpensive restaurant and each of us brought an icebreaker. We laughed and had a good time.
- Watch a periodic Christian movie at someone’s home. And perhaps you could even start with a barbecue?
Many people in the small group come from a serious day at work, and they’ve felt pressure, insecurity, and frustration. Give them a chance to warm up with an interesting, fun-filled icebreaker. Don’t move on too quickly.