Small Groups Need Adventure

On Saturday, April 16th, our small group core teams spent a morning at the PEAK Facilities at Heathwood Hall conquering our fear of heights and processing small group issues through the lens of physical challenges.

Why?  As en-souled bodies (or embodied souls), sometimes to make relational and spiritual breakthroughs, we need to physically engage our bodies.  Physical activities can not only engage our souls, but also engage one another when we work together.  That’s the goal of this adventure.

We had three challenges to face as teams.


The Acid River challenge forced the groups to find a way to get their whole team across a “fiery river of hot acid” using boards and pylons stationed on the ground.  The exercised challenged assumptions, and we processed communication and shared leadership with groups after the challenge.

The next element was the See Saw, a large tottering platform the group had to balance on together- with the added challenges along the way of balls being tossed at members while balancing and even a new person jumping onto the see saw simulating a new person coming into a group.  Processing this element our conversation obviously led to how we maintain the balance of worship, community, outreach and leadership development in our groups.  We considered being willing to be flexible and adaptable since we can’t always keep a perfect balance personally or as a group.

Next came the Blind Square where groups were told they had to make a perfect square out of a rope everyone was holding onto, with the extra difficulty of being blindfolded the whole time!  After this element, groups processed more issues of how their core teams communicate together and how sometimes we just can’t quite see what it is we’re building in our groups.

high ropes

The pinnacle of the morning was the Odyssey, a thirty-foot tall, freestanding high ropes course.  Groups suited up in harnesses and helmets, and after signing waivers(!), they collectively conquered the four separate elements of the structure.  This challenge forced groups to work together to make it through the course successfully before zip lining down to the ground at the end.  Groups processed how our fears affect us, how we can help each other through trouble and how leaders can be developed in the midst of a small group living life together.

After all the elements were completed, the groups hung out under a picnic shelter to eat lunch together, share stories, laugh and process take-away thoughts from the elements.  Leaders spoke about the power of teamwork, the centrality of effective communication and how leadership can take many forms. Some of the key takeaways from the small group leaders were:

  •       Things are messy and chaotic
  •       Things change
  •       Everyone had something to offer
  •       Perception of fear greater than the cause itself
  •       Communication is crucial
  •       With each exercise, we became more comfortable with the unpredictable
  •       Trust makes it a lot more fun
  •       Don’t underestimate the power of encouragement
  •       Hanging out/having fun makes other times richer
  •       We all led and followed as needed
  •       Shared ownership
  •       Broadens our self-awareness
  •       Broadens our awareness of others
  •       We need to involve people
  •       Communicating together is essential
  •       Listening to people is vital—really listening well
  •       Let them resolve it!
  •       We need each other!


Overall we walked away (sore) considering in a new light how, as Romans 12 says, “just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”  May we continue to grow and work together as the spiritual (and earthbound) body of Christ!