Small Group: Application

So many students think we read the Bible in Small Group primarily because we want to be better people.  "Go to Small Group.  Read the Bible.  Do what it says.  Period." 

That's one appoach to Small Group Application.

But that approach is dead wrong.  If we become better people as a result of our Small Group Bible reading, woo hoo.  Side effect.  We read the Bible in Small Group because we want to know and love God.  We want to know who he is and what he's done.  We want relationship with him, love.  And knowing and loving God can and should shape our behavior.

We must always shape behavior through the love and knowledge of God.  The Bible was not written primarily to shape the behavior of Small Group communities.  The Bible was written to shape our love and knowledge of God.  To use it for another (even related) purposes is unwise.  We tend to manipulate.  We fall prey to selection biases.  We get the letter but miss the Spirit.  We end up with dry, dead, guilt-ridden, shame-bound Small Group leaders.

But we must engage in Application.  God wants us to adjust our lives to his rhythm, to see the place our lives have in his story and live well.

As with Observation and Interpretation, here's a list of the the costs of failure to do quality Application:
  • A Small Group may get buried under a load of guilt
  • A Small Group may ignore important theology
  • A Small Group may think the Bible is irrelevant
  • A Small Group may fail to impact life beyond the meeting
  • A Small Group may get bored with the Bible
  • A Small Group may miss opportunities to link behavior with theology
  • A Small Group may develop cult-like tendencies
  • A Small Group may create huge boundaries to outsiders
  • A Small Group may fail to help its members head toward maturity
  • A Small Group may miss a calling from God
  • A Small Group may become repetitious
  • A Small Group may become repetitious
Yes, I used the repetitious joke in three posts.  I liked it.  What can I say?

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