What Most Small Groups Are Missing

I don’t trust myself for honest feedback, so I was skeptical at Gathering 2 of the Apprentice Experience when we were asked, in our small groups, to provide feedback to others in the group.

We were asked to think about a person in our group and say one thing about them that has been a blessing. Then, we were asked to share one challenge of something that we would want to see more of from them.

A very churchy phrase in my circles is “accountability partner.” This is someone or someones that we can confess our sins to and they will hold us accountable to not do these things, and vice versa. While we all need someone like that in our lives, I discovered that groups can do much more than hear and provide accountability for our battle against sin. They can help bring growth and be a place that cultivates maturity and the work of the Holy Spirit.

Image result for small group creative commons

Keith Matthews presented to us what he calls A Cycle of Transformational Learning. Envision a circle with Content/Information at the top of the circle; Spiritual Practices/Exercises at the bottom of the circle; and Feedback/Debrief along the side of the circle.

I like this cycle idea because I have seen how information without practice can be so dry and lifeless and, on the flip side, practice without proper information can be directionless. But what about feedback ties these two together? Because we don’t know what we don’t know and we need others to bring insights to the table that we might need to consider and think on.

When my small group mentioned some things about me and what they needed to see more of, I was surprised and doubtful but then I began to hear these same words echoed from other people as well as in other situations. So there words have led to an area of growth and discovery in me and I am truly grateful for their feedback.

photo credit: Portland Seminary

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