Continuing with our series on the chapter “Velcroed for Growth” from the book Contrarians Guide to Knowing God: Spirituality for the Rest of Us by Larry Osborne…
The second accelerator Osborne refers to when discussing the purpose of small groups is peer pressure. Osborne says close and transparent relationships allow peer pressure to be used as a positive force in developing spirituality (p. 65). He cites Hebrews as an example of positive peer pressure:
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25 (English Standard Version)
By continually meeting together, we develop close and transparent relationships and encourage each other to grow spiritually.
Parents understand the concept of positive peer pressure. We constantly keep an eye on the friends our kids hang out with. We drive them back and forth to youth group so they will be with other Christian kids. We talk to their teachers and coaches to see what kind of people they are. We have their friends over for dinner so we can get to know them. We do all these things so we know the type of influence their friends have on their life. We want them to have positive peer pressure. If we do this for our kids, shouldn’t we do this for ourselves?
Have you ever hung out with someone from Georgia? It doesn’t take long before you begin speaking with a southern accent and drinking sweetened ice tea. I have friends and family in Texas, and if I spend any time with them I begin speaking in a Texas drawl and rooting for the Cowboys. Y’all know what I mean. It rubs off.
Peer pressure works the same way. When we hang around people who are strong in their faith and character, it rubs off on us. Osborne writes, “The best way to produce [a long-term, life changing] kind of spirituality is to hang around those who are already experiencing it” (p. 67). The more we hang around with spiritually strong Christians, the stronger we become.
In small groups we hang around people who encourage us to love one another and to do good works. In small groups we develop close and transparent relationships with other believers. In other words, small groups create the positive peer pressure we need to be spiritually strong.
Next I’ll reflect on the accelerator honesty. Until then… Y’all be good now, ya hear?