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Another Reason Small Groups Are Important

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RC sent me this link to a CNN article that had some interesting information on our circle of friends. Struck a chord with both of us about the importance of small groups:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Americans are more socially isolated than they were 20 years ago, separated by work, commuting and the single life, researchers reported on Friday.

Nearly a quarter of people surveyed said they had "zero" close friends with whom to discuss personal matters. More than 50 percent named two or fewer confidants, most often immediate family members, the researchers said.

"This is a big social change, and it indicates something that's not good for our society," said Duke University Professor Lynn Smith-Lovin, lead author on the study to be published in the American Sociological Review. Smith-Lovin's group used data from a national survey of 1,500 American adults that has been ongoing since 1972.

She said it indicated people had a surprising drop in the number of close friends since 1985. At that time, Americans most commonly said they had three close friends whom they had known for a long time, saw often, and with whom they shared a number of interests.

They were almost as likely to name four or five friends, and the relationships often sprang from their neighborhoods or communities. Ties to a close network of friends create a social safety net that is good for society, and for the individual. Research has linked social support and civic participation to a longer life, Smith-Lovin said.


posted by Joshua Griffin @ 10:42 AM |

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At 6/26/2006, Blogger drneilclayton said...


This is so sadly true. I was having a conversation yesterday morning with a friend about this very subject. Reflecting on my family and my co-workers, most of them live lonely, isolated lives. Most of them are far from God as well.

I do believe this is one great way the lost can experience the life Christ has to offer. This is one thing that the Christian Faith and the Church offers that nothing else can...true community. Everything else resembling true community is like comparing saccharine to sugar. The artificial sweeteners always leave a nasty aftertaste.

I would love to hear your thoughts either here or over at simplyyouthministry.com about what you guys think how new modes of communication affects community (good & bad). Text Messaging…Myspace…Instant Messaging…Blogging…etc.

On another note, I recently started listening to the SYM Podcasts and you guys are truly a blessing! It’s hilarious to watch since I started by watching 19 & 20; and now I’m watching all the other ones starting with 0 &1. You guys have come a long way!!

I did full-time youth ministry in the local church for 7 years and now am a volunteer youth leader working with middle school students. I have read many of Doug’s books, use many of your resources, and have been out to Saddleback for a PDYM Conference. Everything you guys do always has humility, authenticity, transparency, and an undying love for students & their families running through it as its DNA. I cannot express to you enough how thankful I am for you guys. May God continue to richly bless you guys indeed!

Love Always,

Neil Clayton


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