What keeps most small groups from experiencing real life change? The breakdown is application: the point where the rubber meets the road.
Act Your Way Into Thinking
The Head culture has conditioned us to want to know all the facts, to consider the ramifications, and to be reasonably assured of the outcome before we begin a course of action. Faith demands that we act in obedience before we understand fully or see certainly.
In his remarkable book “The Forgotten Ways” Alan Hirsch says: ““We must live our truth” (emphasis mine) and “We need to act our way into a new way of thinking.” Based on his years of observation, strong theological foundation, and the illumination of cognitive science, Hirsch points out that for the follower of Christ, behavior often must precede belief.
Small groups provide the encouragement, safety, and accountability required for most people to Just Do It. I had been in a men’s small group that frequently discussed of our need to engage in practical serving opportunities in a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. I knew what was required by scripture and expected by my peers. I just never got around to putting feet to my knowledge. I avoided application until I heard men tearfully describe their experience of serving the homeless and invite me to join them. I decided to just do it. Exposure to the experience changed me in a way that knowledge of the truth never had. I had acted my way into a new way of thinking.
Application is the key to seeing life transformation in groups. Successful application will require us to overcome a contrary culture, expect it to work, value accountability, and ultimately act our way into thinking. It will prevent your group, and your church, from becoming just another Head Shop.