Some things are hard to describe…but you know it when you see it. Or taste it. When you sense it…or don’t sense it. If you’ve ever taken a drink from a perfectly calibrated soft drink dispenser you know it when it hits your tongue. You actually know it when you put the cup to your lips…because the fizz is already tickling your nose. On the other hand, if you’ve ever taken a drink from a bottle of coke that has lost its fizz…you also know what I’m talking about.
Not long after I left 10 year old Fellowship of The Woodlands (now Woodlands Church) and arrived at a landmark Southern California church…I began to sense that their carbonation was gone. It felt flat, but I had trouble describing it until I stumbled across the metaphor. I went out and bought two 2 liters, uncapped one and put both of them on the edge of my desk…where they sat for about a year. “What’s up with the coke bottles?” launched many discussions about carbonation and churches.
I think the same thing is true in many small groups and small group systems. You know a good group when you’re in one. You can almost taste it. It’s like it’s carbonated. And then there are times when it really is pretty flat. No zip. Not the business.
Want in on the bubbles? You might need to step out of the comfort of the core and try grouplife at the edge of the crowd. At Crowd’s Edge it can be about real change. At Crowd’s Edge is can be about discovering real truth. At Crowd’s Edge it can be about real life, with eternity in the balance.
While telling the story of two coke bottles I often described castaways on an island where a pallet of coke syrup washed up. They knew what it was. They drank it. It was sweet. It was tasty. It was a change from their usual water. But it wasn’t the real thing. Not really. And then one day a pallet of the real thing washed up. I wondered if they’d even like it. It had the familiar essence of the syrup, but it was different. It had the bite of carbonation. It was dangerous by comparison.
And I wondered if you could get so used to just the syrup that you’d reject the real thing. I wondered if people could be so accustomed to the sweetness of the syrup that they’d reject the bite of the real the thing.
Is your group the real thing? Or has the co2 left the building? What about your small group system? Are you working with the whole formula? Or have you gotten used to the syrup?