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    by Susan M Sims

Coffee and Small Groups

Small Groups are like coffee.  You can find any restaurant in any city that will sell you a cup of coffee.  Vending machines can spit out a dispossible cup of coffee in 60 seconds flat for less than a dollar.  But to say you are experiencing the rich aroma or smooth taste of coffee in any of these venues is a stretch.  A true coffee connoisseur will tell you otherwise.  When coffee is done right, it transports you to another reality.  It is not just another beverage, it is an experience.  It is not just something you wake up to in the morning.  Instead, it invites you to see you day, your friends, your neighborhood, your life differently.  It is amazing what a small cup of geniune coffee can do for a person.   

Before you write me off as a lunitic, hear me out.  Small Groups are like coffee.  Yes, everyone is doing it.  It is the "in" thing now.  But all too often it is treated like instant coffee from a vending machine.  There is no transformational experience, cultural context, or communal element assigned to it.  It is just one more beverage of choice to be consumed in our westernized culture.  What if small group evangelists approached small group ministry in the same way?  What if it was not enough to just have another ministry choice, but the goal was to create a transformational and communal experience that would transcend age, race, culture, or economic statise.  What if, instead of rushing into the next new ministry, we would  slow down and smell the coffee when it comes to small groups.  Small groups did not just appear on the scene 10 years ago.  They have been alive and well for hundreds of years across denominational boundaries.  They have been transformational centers and are responsible for creation of university, mission groups, church plants, and even denominational reform.  What if we took the time to understand what have worked and what has been most transformational about them.  

Next time you think about rushing through the next McDonald's drive-thru for a "any size coffee for $1," drive a little further to the local coffee shop in your area and allow yourself to experience a different beverage of choice, a different aroma to define your day.  

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