Whenever we move to a new town, I feel obliged to find my wife new friends.
She does not ask me to do this. She has never said, “It is one of your husband duties to make sure I have lifelong friends within the first 10 minutes we live somewhere.” But I still feel that way.
So when we go to a restaurant and have a polite waitress, I will say things like, “That girl had blonde hair too. You guys would probably be pretty good friends. You should go talk with her in between orders.”
She does not like this. And, since she is already leading a community Bible study group of 15 women in Franklin, TN, doesn’t really need my help making connections.
I am dumb, but as awkward as this is, there is something even more awkward,
joining a new small group.
Whether you’re single or married, this tends to be a task of Herculean proportions. And it’s not that churches aren’t trying to help. I’ve been to several events where churches have creatively tried to funnel members into groups they’ll like. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
In order to ease the difficulty of this challenge, I’ve created a pretty simple list of some of the things you’re going to run into as you search for a small group. As Duke, from GI Joe, has long told us, knowing is indeed half the battle.
Things to keep in mind as you join a new small group.
1. The first night you go to a new small group is like a first date. Try not to openly sob on that night. Imagine how great a first date would go if you started sobbing before they even brought out the blooming onion at Outback.
2. You have an 87% chance that there will be a couple in your group who has been married for about 15 minutes.
3. You have an 88% chance that couple will make out during the group.
4. You have an 89% chance that couple will attempt to give you marriage advice they have culled from their 15 minutes of marriage.
5. Be upfront about your age when finding a group. Age, parenthood and location are usually the three main criteria groups are built on. We failed to mention our age early on, prompting one guy to say when we did, “Yeah, but you don’t look that old.”
6. Nothing brings a group together like an arch nemesis. (The nerd camp always needed the rich camp to compete against.) Feel free to find a shared enemy small group that you can prank.
7. Be the person that has the best small group dessert, but don’t over do it. We once went to a small group that had a four course meal of the most elaborate finger food I’ve ever had. If at any point you find yourself wrapping food in bacon in preparation for small group, pull back a little.
8. Don’t go rogue with your group. It’s tempting to form your own group, outside of the church and do your own thing. Be careful about that though, because often, the church isn’t trying to regulate you like Hearst did the Newsies, but is instead trying to help make your group the best it can be.
9. When you have a social night, be wary of trying to guess whether your new small group members drink wine. Use this list to figure it out.
10. Try to make your personal introduction, whether it’s you as a single guy or you and your wife, shorter than your pastor’s average sermon. No one needs to know about that time you got bit by a rat on the foot in the seventh grade. Unless you lost the foot or kept the rat and have it with you.
11. Don’t tweet or blog stuff about the group without their permission. I am writing that one strictly to myself. But no one likes to read about themselves unexpectedly on Twitter.
12. Every group has certain people in it. (The person who cries each week, the Theologian, the “but is that really so bad?” crazy person, etc.”) Make sure you know where you fit in.
I think I could make this list about 1,000 points long, but you probably have even better ideas than idea.
What tips or points of advice would you give for someone who just started a small group?