… there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Pro 18:24

Personal Friends

Only rarely do you have a real close friend, like a brother, someone you really talk to, someone you struggle with. It is a valuable thing, but rare. To have that kind of brotherhood, you must pursue it. It does not just happen easily. That kind of friendship is like marriage, difficult and sometimes fragile. This kind of relationship is one-on-one, almost always. A history must develop. Close friendship does not come quickly. Even in the midst of a group, the brotherhood is developed one-on-one. True friendship can not be supervised or managed.

Group Settings

Close friendships in a group typically have two problems to watch out for. Number one is the classroom setting. You do not generally develop very good relationships when you work with a curriculum or have a teacher. A classroom setting is more like a parent-child relationship than a brotherhood. Number two is the exact opposite. When there is no oversite or control of a group it’s just chatter. There is no depth. It’s like sparring. Like a little boxing match. Each person has his own idea and the more important the subject, the worse it gets.

My Recommendation for Group Meetings

Have a facilitator. But it’s not the facilitator’s job to teach or lead. It’s his job to manage. Control the group. Choose who speaks and for how long. If somebody’s got something on his mind that’s important to him, the facilitator might let him speak and give him time to work with the group and work it out. The facilitator might choose two or three people to speak at a meeting. He might open it up for discussion for a while. Sometimes one person in a group will talk to much. Intentionally or not, they start taking over the meeting. The facilitator should not allow that. These are just my suggestions. As always, it’s all up to you.

Include God – The Worship Meeting

There are various types of church services. I am familiar with three.

  • First there is the Catholic type. Very warm and friendly but overly ritualistic and tradition based. Nothing wrong with ritual or tradition but it is not required, and it is not a moral mandate.
  • Second is the Baptist or fundamental type. Very disciplined and controlled and strong moral base. Strong knowledge of doctrine. But you need to know God. You need to talk to him and hear from him. These groups generally discourage that.
  • Third is the Pentecostal type. These groups love God and worship enthusiastically. They allow for the Holy Spirit to move freely in their groups and spiritual gifts often manifest. They speak in tongues and expect miracles from time to time. Their problem is they embellish it all. They just try too hard. They want God to show up, so they make try to make it happen by acting it out. It’s just not always all that real.

How should it be?

I am not God. I cannot tell you. But I here is what I suggest. The pastor should be more of a facilitator than a teacher. If some need a sermon or a teaching, send them to a room where they can have that. If some want to sing and praise God, set it up and call them up. If someone has something they believe is from God, consider if they should be allowed to say it. But maybe the pastor should keep hold of the mic, until he knows their level of self control. If you want to be led by God, you must be spontaneous and flexible. Moses is dead, so get rid of the hierarchy.