The key to health is balance. This is true in everyday life as well as group life. Balance of the Biblical purposes ensures group health.
Here are a few ideas for groups to take steps in each of the five purposes.
FELLOWSHIP: Pass out graph paper to the group members. Ask them to first make a timeline of their life along the bottom of the paper and then to indicate with a graph whether the events were high points, low points, or somewhere in between. Have each member take a minute to share their “life line,” holding it up for others to see.
DISCIPLESHIP: Pass out a piece of paper to each person in the group. Have each person list the top ten qualities of a disciple of Jesus Christ. Ask people to share their answers with the group. Record the ideas on a piece of butcher paper that everyone can read, and see if you can reach consensus on the top ten.
MINISTRY: Take some extra Bibles to your group meeting so that everyone in the group will have a Bible. Have your group open their Bibles to the gospels (You might even assign a different group to each of the four gospels). List together all the times that Jesus modeled servanthood. Take time to read some passages aloud. Close with a discussion of what we can do to be servants in our home, church, place of business, and neighborhood.
EVANGELISM: Take construction paper, scissors, and markers to a group meeting. Ask everyone to develop a list of friends who need to know Christ. Then have them use the supplies you brought to make a Bible bookmark that will remind them to pray for the people whose names they write down.
In the weeks that follow, encourage group members to use their reminders and pray for those people on their list. Once every month or so, you might ask members to report on any new interest in spiritual things or even a new commitment to Christ made by the people they listed
WORSHIP: Start your group at about 9 p.m. on a Friday night. Create a special room for the kids to all sleep in. Provide sleeping bags and plenty of pillows. Have your regular group meeting with the adults. Know that without time restrictions, prayer will move at a more relaxed pace. After the study, have a midnight snack break. Next, encourage each group member to lead a half-hour prayer session. After that or around 5:00 a.m., whichever comes first, have a time for praise reports and then celebrate God’s goodness with a group breakfast. This is an event that your kids will remember, and it will model for them a real commitment to prayer.
For more ideas like these read 250 Big Ideas for Purpose Driven Small Groups. More next month!
Steve Gladen is Pastor of the Small Group Community at Saddleback Church and founder of the Purpose Driven Small Group Network.