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Small groups (or a Bible studies, community groups, etc.) are neither good nor bad.
'Small group' is a category, not a descriptor.
It therefore doesn't make sense to make categorical statements about small groups.
However, the effectiveness of small groups (while ultimately dependent on God) will undoubtedly be shaped by many different factors.
A group of 3 men/women.
A group of 10 men/women.
A group of couples with young children.
A group of single people.
A group of older people.
A group with a mixture of ages and stages.
A group where each member attends every week.
A group where attendance is infrequent.
A group of mostly mature believers.
A group of mostly new believers.
A group with a mixture of new and mature believers.
A group that has recently formed.
A group that has met for many years.
A group where young children are present.
A group where sins are confessed.
A group that shares a meal together.
A group where one person dominates discussion.
A group where people serve together.
Each of these factors will do something to the dynamic of the group. Whether that 'something' is good or bad (helpful or unhelpful) will depend on why the group exists in the first place.
It is therefore important to consider the 'why' of small groups and let this guide how groups are formed, when and where they meet, what happens when they meet and the expectations of group members.
Let's start by asking 'why do we meet and what conditions will help us to do this almost effectively?'
There are no losers when clarity is provided.