The most successful small group ministries are composed of groups that are healthy and balanced. Here are a few tips for you to pass along to your small group leaders (or Hosts) to help them bring health and balance to their groups.
Fellowship – To gain some insight into your group members, ask, “What three emotions do you feel most often?” You may even find in their answers some opportunities to offer them spiritual and practical support. Lists of options May help the conversation get started. Some positive feelings are: blessed, calm, capable, confident, content, eager, friendly, gentle, lively, masterful, optimistic, outgoing, peaceful, and safe. Some negative feelings are: afraid, alone, angry, anxious, bitter, discouraged, frantic, fuming hurt, numb, scared, tense, uncomfortable, and worried.
Discipleship – Take time to affirm one another. Ask people in your group to share specific examples of the growth they have seen in fellow members (You might want to let folks know this is coming ahead of time so they can come prepared). If you are the leader of the group, make certain that on the night of affirmation, no one goes unmentioned or unaffirmed. Close this excercise with a time of thanksgiving prayer for what God is doing in the lives of your group members.
Ministry – Some of the strongest evidence of our love for Christ is our ability to love those who aren’t easy to ove. Jesus said in Luke 6:27 (Msg), “To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst.” Ask your group members to think of someone who annoys or irritates them and then accept Christ’s challenge to serve that person in love this week.
Evangelism – There’s another way that empty chair can serve as a reminder that God is putting your small group together. Set on it a piece of poster board that has written on it all the names of the people you are praying for. Let the list prompt you to pray faithfully.
Steve Gladen is the Pastor of Small Group Community at Saddleback Church.
For more small group tips like these, read 250 Big Ideas for Purpose Driven Small Groups