Last year about this time as we ended ReGroup, I wrote some challenges in this space for each of us as we headed into another year of Small Group ministry. I read it again this week and decided it would be appropriate to share it again, as a reminder of what each of us need to do to be about our Father’s business in our groups.
Whether you are in an existing group that relaunched this week, or you are a part of a new group, I hope you will prayerfully consider each of these five requests and challenges:
1) Embrace change. Some things may be different, and though that may make you a little uncomfortable, it’s not a bad thing. Sometimes we need to be pushed out of our comfort zones, especially if we want to grow. Ask the Lord what changes He wants to bring to your life that will move you to a new place of growth with Him.
2) Commit yourself to a group. And when I say commit, I don’t mean commit, if nothing else comes up. This is especially relevant when it comes to your family life, where there are so many distractions and activities competing for your time. Your children need to see your priorities lived out, without compromise. (For that matter, they already do; just make sure you are living the priorities your profess.) Commitment is vital to your spiritual growth.
3) Seek to serve, not be served. We live in a consumer society that always expects others to meet our needs. And most of the time, we come away disappointed. Go into your new group looking for needs to meet and people to encourage–and watch God meet your needs through that process. “Ask not what your group can do for you, but what you can do for your group.”
4) Invite your friends. One of the main purposes of our groups is outreach, and yet this is a constant struggle for most of our groups. When we don’t reach out and invite friends, our groups get inwardly focused and lose their sense of mission. Look around your neighborhood, the ball park or dance class, and extend an invitation to your unchurched friends to come try out your group. For that matter, look around you in worship on Sunday morning at Shelby Crossings and invite those folks to your group. You may just be surprised at who is waiting on an invitation.
5) Pray. Make no mistake, this is a spiritual endeavor, not just a feel-good, self-help gathering of friends. Ask the Lord to work, in your group and in your life. Ask Him to send the right people, and send you to the right people to invite. Ask Him to use your group to impact your community for the gospel. And then watch Him answer your prayers. I can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store for us as we gather together as His body around our community in small groups.