A healthy diet is one that balances all of the food groups. Likewise, a healthy small group balances all of the biblical purposes. Pass these suggestions along to your small groups and watch as health happens!
Fellowship – Use a Nerf ball to encourage and even control sharing. Toss the ball to the person whose turn it is to share. When that person has finished, he/she chooses who to hear from next by tossing the ball to that group member. This ball can also help you control talkative people in your group. Simply establish and enforce the “Nerf Rule” – You can’t talk unless you’re holding the Nerf ball.
Discipleship – Exodus 31:13 (NLT) says, “Tell the people of Israel to keep my Sabbath day, for the Sabbath is a sign of the covenant between me and you forever. It helps you to remember that I am the Lord, who makes you holy.” As a group, talk about what it might look like to truly practice keeping the Sabbath in the twenty-first century. Remember the huge difference between grace and legalism!
Ministry – In a true demonstration of his servanthood, Jesus picked up a towel and washed the feet of his disciples (John 13). Recognize the Christ-like service of someone in your group with a “servant’s towel” award. Buy a nice, decorative hand towel to give as this award. If you want to make the award extra special, you could mount it in a shadow box and present it at a group meeting.
Evangelism – An empty chair can communicate an important message to members during your small group meetings. That chair can remind people that God has someone new for the group. Who is that person? Have your group pray consistently, as well as actively recruit new people who need God, love, and fellowship.
Worship – During the week after your next group meeting, encourage group members to call each other and offer prayer. When a group member answers the phone, say, “I wanted to call and have the chance to pray for you.” Then pray for the person. Keep it short. Just pray and get off of the phone.
Steve Gladen is the Pastor of Small Group Community at Saddleback Church. His latest book, Small Groups with Purpose: How to Create Healthy Communities, has just been released.
For more ideas like these, read 250 Big Ideas for Purpose Driven Small Groups.