There’s nothing wrong with being patriotic. In fact, taking pride in what God has given you—even the country you live in—is honorable.
But all too often, patriotism becomes so integrated into one’s faith that there’s subconscious confusion. Some of your group members may believe that if they’re passionate about the causes of the Republican party, they’re gospel-centered Christians. For other group members, their deep-set intuition whispers that they’re like Christ if they give their lives to the causes of the Democratic agenda.
The truth is, when we are more passionate about anyone or anything than we are about Jesus Christ and the gospel, we have lost our way. Whatever we are so passionate about that we can’t stop talking about is the thing we are most passionate about. There is no agenda that is more potent or more important than growing in Christ, making Christ known, and being the church to those with whom we are doing Christian community.
As your group meets this week, I would suggest that you spend time thanking God for placing you in a country where you can still meet together as Christians without fear of intimidation or death. For many of our brothers and sisters around the globe, this isn’t true. And I would also suggest that you spend some meaningful time thanking God for the cross, for His blood sprinkled on your hearts, so that everyone in your group lives life with a clear conscience, fully aware that their eternal home is being prepared for them in heaven.
And one last suggestion: no matter how deeply and earnestly someone in your group wants to talk about politics—DON’T!
Rick Howerton is the Small Groups and Discipleship Specialist at Lifeway Christian Resources. He has authored many small group studies, is a highly sought-after trainer and speaker, and is the author of Destination Community: Small Group Ministry Manual as well as A Different Kind of Tribe: Embracing the New Small Group Dynamic. He is also the co-author of Disciples Path: A Practical Guide to Disciple Making and Countdown: Launching and Leading Transformational Groups. But Rick’s deepest passion and his goal in life is to see “a biblical small group within walking distance of every person on the planet making disciples that make disciples.”