by Steve Gladen
The key to health in a small group is balance of the biblical purposes. Here are some suggestions to pass along to your Small Group Leaders.
FELLOWSHIP – Never cancel a meeting due to the number of people who might be absent. Remember that every single meeting is a divinely arranged appointment for you to minister God’s grace and love to whomever He brings. If just a few people show up for your meeting, be sensitive to their needs. Don’t hesitate to tailor your lesson and/or group time to the few who show up. Appreciate the opportunity that this smaller group gives you to get to know each other better.
DISCIPLESHIP – Plan a weekend group walk though a park or along a nature trail. Decide on a time and location. Encourage group members to take along a Bible and even a lawn chair or blanket. When everyone arrives, instruct each person to go off separately and be alone with the Lord for an hour. When everyone returns to the meeting place, ask for volunteers to talk about their experiences. What did they realize about the value of this time? What did they sense God was saying to them? How hard was it to be quiet, and to focus on the Lord? How might this experience help you develop a regular time?
MINISTRY – Which group member has a neighbor with a need? Perhaps the yard could use work, some baby-sitting would be helpful, or the car could be washed and waxed. Meet that need, whatever it is – and be sure to take along some cookies or brownies when you put your love into action.
EVANGELISM – We human beings have a God-given responsibility to take care of the earth (Genesis 1-2). Spend some time talking about what that stewardship assignment means. Then, to put into practice what you’ve learned, be good stewards of the planet by doing one of the following:
- pick up litter along a highway or in a park
- plant a group garden and share in the work as well as in the produce
- start compost by recycling vegatable wastes (rinds, peels, pulp, and seeds)
- recycle newspapers, plastic, paper and aluminum and use the cash for a mission project
WORSHIP – Ask group members to bring a favorite worship CD to a meeting. Take turns sharing a much-loved song. Encourage group members to either sing along or to enjoy a quiet time of worship as they follow along with the words. Never be afraid to include music or singing in your group time.
Steve Gladen is the founder of the Purpose Driven Small Group Network and Pastor of Small Group Community at Saddleback Church.