When my husband and I lived in Misawa, Japan, we had a small group that we were a part of and they were our lifeline. We did "life" with these people. I know it was a unique situation because we were all "stuck" in Japan so we became each others family. We met every week no matter what was going on - it was something that was a non-negotiable on our calendar, more important than even making it to the chapel service on Sunday. Our group would study God's word together, play games together, celebrate b-days and holidays together and like I said, "do life" together.
Mark and I love the church we go to now, we are fed each week by the pastor's sermons and we are able to use our spiritual gifts by serving in the church in some form or fashion. Our daughter has friends to play with there and she loves her Sunday School teachers. The only thing that was missing was that we weren't "doing life" with any of the people from church. We would see church friends at church and that was pretty much it.
At the beginning of the summer, our pastor asked us what we thought of doing a home small group...of course we jumped all over that, it was like an answered prayer. The group met for about 4 or 5 Fridays and we enjoyed every minute of that time to actually meet with our church family outside of church and get to know others better. Then, we got to a Friday where many of the people couldn't meet, so we didn't. Now, it is like the group just fell of the face of the earth.
I think, as humans, we need those connections with others and as Christians those connections should be at church. We expressed our concerns to our pastor and we may go back to having the home small group meetings but he isn't sure because of the lack of commitment from most people.
This makes me so sad, my husband and I desire to do "life" with our church family - to be involved in each other's lives so we can pray and encourage each other. A friend reminded me that it is what God desires of us as well - just look at the church in the book of Acts - they met at each other's houses, ate together, talked, prayed, encouraged and went out together to spread the word.
My husband and I are praying that this group will be implemented again and that it will be in line with God's will for us. Having these connections and a group to hold you accountable is so important.