As fall approaches, many churches are starting new small groups. Why not give your new groups some suggestions for health and balance from the beginning? Make these same suggestions available to your existing groups as a great way to breathe life and excitement into their group time.
Fellowship – Anytime someone new joins the group, go out to eat together. A casual restaurant is a comfortable, nonthreatening setting to introduce the new person to the group. It can sometimes be awkward for a new person to find himself sitting in a stranger’s living room, surrounded by people he doesn’t know. But a restaurant meeting, on the other hand, is just about having a meal, some laughs, and a good time. A restaurant meeting is also great for inviting nonbelievers. It can be tough to invite a nonbelieving coworker to church and even tougher to invite him or her to a Bible study group. It’s much easier to invite that coworker to a restaurant to have dinner with a bunch of your friends.
Discipleship – One night during your group meeting, select a passage of Scripture. Then have everyone sit quietly for twenty minutes to meditate on those verses. “Meditating” may sound odd or difficult. Explain to group members that they need only to read the passage slowly and prayerfully, making observations, asking what it reveals about God, and listening for what he might want to be teaching them right now. Group members may not find this exercise very easy. Acknowledge that fact, but encourage them to sit quietly with the passage and the Lord for the entire twenty minutes. Come back together and talk not only about the passage but also the experience.
Ministry – This great faith-building exercise will also give you a clue into people’s passions and shapes for ministry. Simply discuss the following questions: If neither time nor money were an obstacle, what would you attempt for God? What can you do to start moving in that direction of ministry?
Evangelsim – Matthew 25:35 (NIV) says, For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” We are called to share with those around us. One simple way we can do that is by sharing food. Hunger is a real problem and one that your group can help meet. So, so a small group food drive. Have everyone bring some canned goods that could be donated to a shelter.
Worship – During group time make a house call to a member or two who haven’t been able to attend. Stop by for a few minutes, drop off some goodies, and move on. You could say, “We missed you coming to the group, so we brought the group to you!” Be sure to ask how you can pray for the person you’re visiting and pray immediately.
Join me next month for more suggestions for health and balance in your groups!
Steve Gladen is the Pastor of Small Group Community at Saddleback Church and Founder of the Small Group Network.
For more tips like these, read 250 Big Ideas for Purpose Driven Small Groups!