I enjoy small group work in the church. It is the best way to get to know people and for them to know one another better. In a small group, people are more likely to open up about themselves in a way they just can't when they are sitting in a pew on Sunday or attending a committee meeting. People are much more guarded in these formal settings. But when they meet in a group, they seem more willing to open up and share. In so dong, the ties that bind the congregation seem to grow.
In planning small group events at the church, I am always amazed at the community that gathers. Someone mentions that they would like a study on such and such. You think it is a great idea. You plan that event. And wham, no one shows up. Other times, there is an idea to gather, you plan a small event for three or four people and suddenly thirty show up. Such is the joys of small group planning. You just never know the numbers but then it is not necessarily about numbers is it. What I have learned over the years is that numbers are not important. One of the best church study groups I have ever led had four people on it. But together we laughed, cried, and learned about each other. Together we grew so much. Together the group was so important to the whole church, that it did not matter if we were 4 or 50. And I have watched large small groups that begin with so much excitement quickly fizzle because there was not the excitement to glue the folks together.
Much was made that Donald Trump was going to be giving a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma last week. His aides said that they expected almost a million people to show up. Outside of the arena that could house 19,000 people, a huge field was set up with loudspeakers so that the overflow crowd could listen to the president speak. People camped outside for days making sure they were one of the lucky ones to get inside to hear the rally.
Saturday came. The anticipated crowds did not show up. In fact, according to the Fire Marshall in Tulsa only 6,200 showed up at a rally. Those same aides who expected a million tried to dismiss the news about the small crowd. "They were worried about rioting and protesters." "COVID." "It is social media's fault." Still I can't imagine that those aides who were boasting about hundreds of thousands were devasted by the small crowd.
It could be a turning point in the Trump story. In 2015, when he announced his run for presidency many laughed. Yet his story that he concocted was he was a success and with him the US would be a success. He belittled his opponents as losers and many people ate it up. This was the first time since 2015 that he had a visible defeat. After watching the president struggle with COVID, an overzealous twitter finger, over his seemingly impossible lack of filters, might this be the wake up call to point out that Trump could lose.
Or is the empty arena in Tulsa a wake up call for his base. They had taken Oklahoma for granted. They had downplayed Trump's opposition. No longer. The Trump supporters now see that they need to make a concerted effort to win back support on social media- a medium that had elected him president in the first place. The president's walk of shame from that plane on Saturday night unfortunately might energize his supporters to cry louder. Whatever the outcome, Saturday's empty seats was the beginning and not the end of the story. Blessings.