THE ODD BUNCH

How to include the group that doesn't naturally fit.

In a small group at a pastors workshop, we were asked to reflect on the previous year's deepest pain and greatest joy.

"My greatest pain," said one pastor, "resulted from the conflict over a divorce-recovery group we started about ten months ago. A small core of longtime members contended we were condoning divorce, if not actually encouraging it. My greatest joy has been that our divorce-recovery group attracted so many people that we've had to divide it. Now we have two groups of nearly thirty apiece."

How frequently pain and joy accompany the same experience! The story also illustrates that it's not unusual for a group within the church to receive less than enthusiastic support from other members.

In some cases, a new group might face resistance because members of the group appear unconcerned about becoming fully integrated into present church life.

One common example is the home Bible study that never meets in the church building, nor does it seek or welcome ...

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