There’s this little dance that always happens right after you tell a leader at a church you are sorta kinda maybe interested in serving in their environment. They try not to act too excited. They’re try to act like they’re only slightly interested. “Yeah, that’s great. Let’s get together, and chat or something.” A date is made, and then they go home praying to God that you actually follow through. I know these things because my husband is a small groups director.

And then the meeting happens.

This is the moment all groups directors love/hate, and I’ll tell you why. This is the moment directors will tell you that you are basically about to sign your life away. I know this happens because it happened to me. Recently, I had my meeting at Starbucks with the groups director for middle school. We were just chatting and having a good ol’ time when there was a sudden shift in the atmosphere. It was almost as if she had collected the combined awkwardness of all of the middle schoolers from the previous Sunday in a bottle and poured it over our table. It was time—time for her to tell me about all the things they required small group leaders to do. As she went down the list, it was as if she was just waiting for me to throw my hands up and say, “WHAT? All these things? All this time?” When I say that this is the moment that all groups directors love/hate, it’s because they can tell pretty quickly who will say yes and who will run to their car and head for the hills.

But some will say yes. Some will sign up. I mean, I did.

After my meeting, I started thinking through the why nots of committing to serving. Maybe it would be difficult for me to connect to my few. Maybe I wouldn’t have enough time to offer. Maybe it would require more energy than I realized. In Jen Hatmaker’s book For the Love, she talks about having balance in life and uses the illustration of a balance beam to assist her point. Only so many things can fit on a balance beam, and things that aren’t life-giving should be taken off of it.

I would like to pair this idea with another one. A few years ago, my small group did a study on the idea of doing things to amuse versus rejuvenate. When you break down the word amuse, you get “a” which means without and “muse” which means inspiration—without inspiration. When you break down the word rejuvenate, you get “re” which means to do again and “juvenate/joven” which means young—to be young again. And when we considered those two words, we began to put the activities we were doing in those two categories. They were either making us young and bringing new life into our lives, or they were things we did that were entertaining but without inspiration. I would argue that a lot of the time we fill our balance beam with things that are amusing. And if we really stopped to think about the things in life that are bringing newness and joy, giving time to service is just about the most life giving thing there is.

So for now, I am officially signed up to lead a middle school small group! We shall see what will happen next!

Until next time,
Julie Lemmel
Middle School SGL

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