In the movie, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, Steve Martin plays Neal Page, a marketing executive in New York desperately trying to get home to his wife and kids in Chicago before Thanksgiving. After meeting Del Griffith (played by John Candy) they set out on a 3 day adventure trying to get Neal home. Failure after failure causes them to eventually drive a rental car.
Del is driving and Neal is exhausted and sleeping in the passenger seat. Through a comedy of errors, Del ends up driving the car in the wrong direction on the highway. As they drive along, a car with a husband and wife on the other side of the highway notices the deadly predicament that Del and Neal are in. They begin to honk and shout at the duo from across the highway. Del thinks the couple is trying to race him at first. After Del noisily honks back at the couple, Neal wakes and groggily tries to figure out what they want and rolls down his window. The couple both yell from across the highway, “You’re going the wrong way!”
Neal looks to Del and says, “They said we’re going the wrong way.” Del replies, “Oh, he’s drunk. How would he know where we’re going?” Neal agrees and thanks the couple and waves to them. The couple don’t stop though. They keep yelling, “You’re going in the wrong direction” and “You’re going to kill somebody.” During this whole interchange we are shown two semi trucks driving side by side headed toward Neal and Del unsuspectingly.
Last Sunday, I spoke on the importance of getting into a small group. At Discovery, we have large group gatherings – Sunday worship service – where anyone can come and participate in the community with their anonymity mostly secure. That is on purpose. We want everyone to be able to explore God, Jesus, and his church at their own pace.
Eventually though, following Christ and pursuing the kingdom means you’re going to have to deepen your commitment toward the body. The fellowship and family of faith requires active participation. I talked about the hesitancies and hang-ups that many people have when we bring up the subject of being in a small group. What I didn’t discuss and highlight were the benefits.
Committing oneself to a group of people for a season of your life brings many benefits. It provides opportunities for you to be challenged by the life struggles of others, care for and encourage your brothers and sisters in Christ, and partner together to accomplish more as a small group than you can on your own. The greatest movement in the history of mankind was started by a small group of devoted followers of Jesus. Their impact for the kingdom is immeasurable. Discovery itself was started by a small group who met in a home at the beginning. They only had a couch and dream.
One of the most important benefits of being in a small group is that someone may just notice that you’re going in the wrong direction. With strong commitment and courage, they may even roll down the window and start yelling, “You’re going the wrong way.” If this ever does happen to you, I would encourage you to pause for a moment and, unlike Neal and Del, consider that maybe you are headed in the wrong direction and it is going to cause you and possibly others a lot of pain. I know that if I was in small group with you, I would hope and pray that if you ever saw me going in the wrong direction, you would do everything you could to help me see it.
Joining a small group may just save your life. And the lives of those around you.
“What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself.” Ephesians 4:25 (The Message)
Fall Group Launch // At Discovery, we believe the place to thrive is in community. Our Sunday services are a great place to encounter Jesus with a crowd. But it’s in our Groups where we build real community. Where will you connect this fall? Grab a group guide this Sunday or click here to view a Group directory. Get connected!