One of my favorite parts of being a believer is having brothers and sisters in Christ that I can hang with, grow with, discuss things with and just enjoy life with. Being around those people is something Scripture encourages, and implies is incredible necessary for following Jesus:
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:23-25)
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:1-2)
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. (James 5:16)
I love passages like these because they’re reminders to me that I need people. We need each other.
One way that we experience this community, this fellowship, is through small groups. I want to explore what I’ve seen as seven types of people in small groups, who they are and why we need them. Even the annoying ones, the ones that get on my nerves the most, are super important to have in those groups, and I hope to explain why.
(Note: There will be some exaggeration in this, hopefully for humor, but these aren’t to be taken super literally.)
The Bible Thumper
The profile: Brings at least two or three Bibles with different translations to small group. Constantly pointing to things in the Bible to back up his statements. Interrupts others with “But the Bible says…” often. First to come up with a verse to relate to the certain situation.
Why they’re needed: This person is important because they bring things back to the source. If God’s Word truly is a sword (1 Timothy 4:12) that is good “for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16), then it needs to be brought up. Can it get kind of annoying? Perhaps. Can this person make stretches to relate things to a certain verse? Maybe. But this person’s passion for the Word of God is super necessary.
The One Passion Person
The profile: Always finds a way to turn the conversation to whatever they’re most passionate about, whether it be mental health, politics, sexual sin, fatherlessness, racism, etc. Sometimes it’s kind of amazing how they can connect something in the Old Testament to whatever they’re interested in.
Why they’re needed: Maybe you think they go overboard with that one topic. And perhaps they do. But maybe they’re just trying to bring awareness to something you don’t even think about on a daily basis. It’s people like this that can help you be aware of and at least pray for whatever their issue is. We all have our passions. We can encourage and edify one another with our passions.
The America-Is-Going-to-Hell-in-a-Handbasket Stump Speaker
The profile: Attended the Values Voter Summit last weekend. This person is up on all the presidential candidates. This person probably hates Obama. Well, they say they love Obama but hate his politics. They fear for the future of America and say it’s the government’s fault that Planned Parenthood is funded, abortion is legal and gay marriage is allowed.
Why they’re needed: If you know me, you know I’m probably most annoyed by this person. But I need to hear this person out. They make good points. They’re very similar to the One Passion Person in that they want people to be aware of the political issues. And, let’s be fair, what goes on in D.C. is incredibly impactful on our day-to-day lives. I need to learn to give this person a fair shake just like I want to be given a fair shake for thinking the opposite the majority of the time.
The Silent-But-Deadly One (And I’m Not Talking About Farting)
The profile: Doesn’t really say a whole lot. They keep quiet for the majority of the meeting, but when called upon to say something, or perhaps prompted by a thought in their own head, they open their mouth and out comes something deeply profound.
Why they’re needed: Everyone’s opinion matters, even the one who doesn’t have anything to say 95 percent of the time. And this person’s insight, profound or not, is just as valuable as the one who is always talking.
The profile: Has a word of advice for anyone presenting a problem in their own life. Takes the prayer request time to really shine.
Why they’re needed: This person can be really annoying for me because sometimes I just want to be heard, not fixed. But two things to remember about this person. First, they just want to help. They care about other people, so they want to be a part of helping others find the solution(s) to their issues. Second, sometimes this person has really good insight. To write off everything they say as just meddling is unfair, because perhaps they have the answer you’ve been searching for.
The Group Leader
The profile: Last to share their thoughts. Keeps the group on task. Usually spends some time making sure people don’t go No. 2 in the bathroom closest to the living room. Leads by example by going back to the master bathroom to do so him/herself.
Why they’re needed: It’s really easy for people to get distracted by a particular issue in small group conversation. And while those issues can be important, and sometimes need to be expounded upon, keeping a group on task is extremely important, especially when there’s a time limit.
A Group Regular’s Relatively-New Significant Other
The profile: Doesn’t go to the church that the small group is based out of. The group regular is trying to see if he/she will fit in with their group of friends and figures a high-intensity spiritual setting will be a good test. Usually quiet.
Why they’re needed: As someone who has been the “group regular” in this situation, having these people in your group is helpful not just for the group regular but the significant other. In the context of that relationship, a small group setting is incredibly beneficial. For the group, don’t rule this person out. They may be what you need.
1 Corinthians 12:14-26 says:
For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
We can’t say to one of these people that we have no need of them just because they’re not who we are or they’re not who we think we need. We need each of these people and all the stereotypes that I didn’t list here in our small groups, in our community. In that way, we’ll be well-rounded and the body of Christ we’re called to be.