Monday night, I met with a group of men that I’ve been meeting with twice a month for about 15 years. We’ve been working diligently to improve our leadership. We’ve learned from thought leaders in the field and from each other. We’ve also been doing life together.
We’ve attended conferences together, shared resources, challenged and prayed for each other. We’ve attended weddings and graduations. Three members have battled cancer – one didn’t survive. We’ve also buried one child together. We’ve certainly grown as leaders and as friends. We’re stronger because of each other. There’s power in the group!
Small groups are not a new idea. Men and women have been meeting together in small group settings for centuries. Why has this practice stood the test of time? My best answer: small groups provide a unique environment in which some of our deepest, innate needs can be met. Here are five reasons I plan to be part of a group like this until the day I die.
Community – Small groups are the perfect setting to foster genuine community. Community is a place, where we know, serve, celebrate, mourn and love deeply. In our daily lives, these types of relationships rarely occur accidentally. True community requires a time commitment that runs counter to the pace of our lives. The discipline of meeting together on a regular basis and investing time together is the bedrock of community.
Learning – A small group is an excellent forum for learning. The dynamics of a small group stimulate rich, meaningful dialogue, questions, debate and learning. In a group, we learn from the experiences of others and enjoy the insight derived from diverse perspectives. All these factors combine to do more than merely facilitating learning, they accelerate it.
Challenge – Where do you go to be challenged? Not the challenge you may get at work to do less with more. Or, the challenge you get from your boss to improve your performance. Where do you go to be challenged as a human being? Where are you challenged to learn, grow and be a better person? A well-functioning small group can be that place.
Accountability – I need all the help I can get in life. Much of my accountability comes from my small group. Certainly this is true as it relates to learning, but on a larger scale as well. In our group, we decided about a decade ago to begin the practice of sharing our life plans and annual plans with each other. This process provides not only input, but also greater accountability on the execution side.
Encouragement – Life can be hard. I need a place to be encouraged. Some of this can happen at work and at home. However, a group where trust and mutual respect have been cultivated over time is the perfect venue to encourage one another.
Do you have a place like this? Why not find 6 – 8 of your friends or colleagues and start a small group today? It’s one of life’s decisions you’ll never regret.[GLS_Shield]