Small Groups - A Place to Serve
Two negative outcomes are possible when a small group of the same people meet together indefinitely. One is that the group gradually disintegrates. Another is that the group becomes exclusive. Other people aren’t really welcome—even if it’s said that they are.
One way to avoid this is to try to get people involved with a different group each year. It’s something I’ve found fairly successful. Another is to focus on the “empty chair.”
To have an empty chair means that as a group you think about someone who will fill that chair. It could be a follow church goer, a friend of one of the group members, somebody’s neighbor or a relative. The group then prays for that person and the person who will extend the invitation. That’s one task most any group can take on, if there is a willingness to see others become part of your meeting. And it could lead to someone making a profession of faith in Christ, feeling they’re a part of your church or growing in their relationship with the Lord.
At Covenant Church in Fayetteville, GA, where I work we’ve done some significant mercy ministry projects through our small groups. One that has become a staple is Prison Fellowship’s Angel Force—both the Christmas gifts and the summer camp ministry.
To do something for somebody else is an important component in a small group’s life. It helps to get the focus off the needs in the group and centered on someone or something else.
If a group isn’t careful they can find themselves centering virtually all their prayers around needs of people related to the group. This too can be one of your tasks—to pray systematically for someone or something not directly related to you.
In addition to all this, working on a task together will help cement relationships within the group.
Remember the three legs of the stool which enables small group ministry to stand—task, Bible study, and an opportunity to tell your story.
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