by Steve Gladen
Keep your small groups focused on the Great Commandment and Great Commission by giving them suggestions for accomplishing the biblical purposes of fellowship, discipleship, ministry, evangelism, and worship.
Here are a few suggestions:
Fellowship : Think of a different question for each member of the group. Write each question on a separate piece of paper. Fold the papers in half and put them in a box. At the group meeting ask members to take one paper from the box and answer the question. Use simple and fun questions such as: What is your favorite book? What is your favorite place for a quiet time? What is your favorite restaurant and why?
Discipleship : At the end of a group meeting, challenge everyone in the group to read the book of Mark during the next week. Ask them to take notes in response to the question, “What did you learn about Jesus that you didn’t know before?” Talk about their answers at the next meeting.
Ministry: James 1:27 (NLT) tells us, Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles, and refuse to let the world corrupt us. Identify a widow in your church and have someone from the group give her a call. Find out what need your group can take care of for her. Also let her know that your group will be praying for her.
Evangelism: Your small group members have probably already shared their testimonies with one another. But are they ready to share this life message with a nonbeliever who might ask, “Why are you a Christian?” Ask group members to develop a three-minute and a seven-minute version of their story and to practice telling it in the group.
Worship: Did you know that a Nerf ball can add a new kind of energy to your prayer time? Share a prayer request, throw a ball to someone, and have the person who catches the ball pray for you. That person then shares a prayer request, tosses the ball, and is prayed for. You get the pattern! Besides generating prayer, the Nerf ball approach encourages the person who catches the ball to pray. Being tossed the ball says that the recipient is trusted with what has been shared and trusted to be faithful in prayer. Tossing the Nerf ball also gives people who may not usually share a prayer an opportunity to do just that.
Steve Gladen is the Pastor of Small Group Community at Saddleback Church and Founder of the Small Group Network.