Why Gathering One-To-One
Why Gathering One-to-One? What sets it apart, and what are the advantages of this way of meeting together? Here are just a few.
SCHEDULING MEETINGS IS FAR EASIER
When gathering one-to-one, you only have two schedules (or three at most) to line up. It’s far easier to find a time that only works for one or two other people than it does for a larger group. Also, if someone has to cancel at the last minute, there’s no agonizing dilemma between having that person miss a session or trying to rebook a whole group—just reschedule with that one or two people.
YOU CAN MEET ALMOST ANYWHERE
Even a small group requires a certain amount of space, and larger classes can make even a spacious home feel crowded. That then makes things hard on the host, or requires a cost for renting space. But if you’re gathering one-to-one, you can meet almost anywhere. It could be in a home, over a small table in a coffee shop, on a park bench, even side-by-side on the train or bus if you share a commute! Space is much less of a challenge when gathering one-to-one. You could even meet over the phone or internet video chat!
In group settings, there’s often louder or more talkative people who dominate the meeting’s “air-time,” and those who aren’t built that way can miss out. Conversely, some folks find it easier to “hide” in a group setting, preferring to observe and listen passively without actively contributing. Gathering one-to-one makes it far easier for each participant to engage meaningfully.
PRIVACY AND DEPTH OF RELATIONSHIPS
There’s a proverb that states the likelihood of a secret’s being “leaked” is proportional to the square of the number of people who know it. One of the benefits of church small groups is that it’s easier for sensitive or private issues to be shared. Gathering one-to-one is an even better context for such ministry. This is the very reason that many approaches to helping Christians fight sin encourage them to find one “accountability partner.” For safeguarding privacy and encouraging true depth in relationship, gathering one-to-one is possibly the best option.
NO LEADER REQUIRED
One of the most unique features of gathering one-to-one, when compared to other ways that Christians meet, is that there’s no requirement for a leader. Gathering one-to-one is where true “peer-to-peer” ministry can take place. Groups larger than three members tend to require at least a facilitator in order to ensure everyone has a chance to participate, make decisions about scheduling or focus, and even referee disputes. In a church context, that means qualified leaders need to be identified and trained, and structures created for support and accountability. Churches can only have as many larger groups as they can provide leaders for, if they wish to remain healthy. Gathering one-to-one sidesteps all those organizational challenges, because it’s simply two or three Christians getting together to help each other follow Jesus. Any Christian can do it!
Gathering One-to-One is a seasonal approach to ministry. It’s not open-ended or indefinite. Two or three believers agree to meet together, for a set period of time or number of meetings. It’s far easier to commit to just a “season” than to an ongoing or permanent group. (This minimizes the awkwardness that can happen when a person decides they don’t want to continue with this group, because it will end on schedule!) And the meetings themselves can be as often or as spaced-out as the two or three involved would like. Commitment is still there and still necessary, but it’s made much, much easier.
PROFOUNDLY CLEAR AND SIMPLE
The kind of gathering one-to-one that we’re talking about is so simple, yet so deep. It aims to gather two or three disciples of Jesus around the Word of God. Its design is to have them grow together as they either read the written Word together, discuss and encourage the application of the Word heard together, or to pray God’s Word back to him together. No curriculum, books, or videos required—just the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, and two or three gathered in Jesus’ name. That’s it!