Every small group has fluctuating attendance. Sometimes everybody’s there. Sometimes there are just a few people. We could easily launch into how uncommitted people are and scold them for being so irregular, or we could take another approach.
God arranges for every small group meeting to suit His purpose. Sure, we might be disappointed that we didn’t have a full house, but sometimes what God wants to do can’t be accomplished if everybody showed up. Rather than beat yourself up for being an inferior leader or beating up your group for being uncommitted, ask God what He intends for the group that day. Whether large or small, God has a plan for it.
A member of my small group was discouraged over some disappointments in his life. We had made several attempts to get together, but our busy schedules kept getting in the way. Then, one day at the group meeting, there were just two of us. God had arranged for us to finally have our lunch. We had a great discussion, but not one that we could have had with the whole group.
I know another leader who thought their group meeting just wasn’t going to happen. Throughout the day, every member of the group called to cancel for that night. Eventually the leader’s husband called and said that he was working late and wouldn’t be there either. The leader thought, “Well, I guess I’ve got the night off.”
At 7:00 the doorbell rang. The leader opened the door and was greeted by a couple who rarely came to the group. She had forgotten about them. Tempted to tell them that the group was cancelled and return to her relaxing, she thought better of it and invited them in. As the couple shared their story, the husband expressed his need for Christ. The leader explained what it meant to follow Jesus, and that night the man was saved. What if the leader had called off the meeting and turned the couple away?
We never know what God has in store for our groups. Even when we have a full house, we need to ask God what He has in mind for our group meeting. It may be caring, sharing, praying and eating. But, it may be something else.