In making a case for the power and necessity of small group ministry, I've often said that the weekend service is closest in kind to a defibrillator. It can restore an irregular spiritual heartbeat to regularity...but it's temporary. It's not surgery or even therapy. As soon as the service is over, you're back in the car and running into a traffic snarl, kids fighting in the back seat. Short story? Most of the time you're right back in the same condition you were in before the service.
What is more like surgery or therapy? Life on life has the capacity to be what is needed. If I'm meeting someone from my small group right after the service and I run into the same traffic jam I'm much more able to slow down knowing that my friend is waiting for me there.
Does that make sense? Is it absolute truth? No. But it is a helpful metaphor in talking about the need for community.
I learned something new today. Did you know that "the American Heart Association estimates that sudden cardiac arrest kills almost one thousand Americans a day. Every minute is precious: a victim's chance of surviving drops by 7 to 10 percent every minute that passes after an event without defibrillation." What does that mean? It means that you can't depend on weekly defibrillation. The need for help and encouragement doesn't just come on Sundays at 9:00 and 11:00.