One of my great passions in ministry is Small Groups! As much as I love communicating and building strategic plans around gathering groups of people for an event…Small Groups just get me fired up!
Ever since I read Sticky Church, I’ve been hooked! If you can create environments that are so welcoming and so accepting and so rewarding, people will STICK! Kids will Stick. Students will Stick. Students will Stick! And, that’s what we want at Thrive!
We want EVERY Thriver in a Small Group!
We want EVERY Thriver to have a group of people who will be their ‘people’! Where they can ask spiritual questions without worrying about being judged. Where they can be prayed for. Where they can be loved. Where they can be taken care of. Where they can grow spiritually.Where they can live out the ‘One Another’s’ of the New Testament.
At Thrive, that’s why Small Groups are our Secret Sauce! We believe fully in Andy Stanley’s great quote…
Circles are better than rows
But, it takes some commitment and energy to make GREAT Small Groups. It’s just not automatic. And, I would rather my Small Group be great and something people look forward to, than just ok.
So, if you want your Small Group to be GREAT, here are a few things you can do to make it GREAT!
1. ONE…Make it a priority!
Simple, right? Wrong! We’re so busy! There are so many things clamoring for our attention and we feel like we have to say yes to everything.
And, don’t throw tomatoes at me, but honestly, it seems like everything is more important than our spiritual growth now a days.
Our kids activities are def. more important. Just look at your calendar. Again, not saying at all that kids stuff isn’t important, I love watching my kids at school and in sports.
But, what if we lived like the early Church in Acts 2:42?
‘They Devoted themselves’. Just think about that word for a second. Have you DEVOTED yourself to…
‘Teaching, Fellowship, Breaking of Bread and to Prayer’?
What if our GROUPS became SACRED. We blocked out that time. My family has done some crazy things in the past to protect our Group time. Take some time to think and to pray about what you could do to make being a group a Priority for you and your family.
2. Really Care about your group.
Yes, another one that sounds simple. But, what if we put the same energy into our groups that we did our passions in life (working out, camping, hunting, shopping)? Yeah, our groups would be pretty darn special wouldn’t they?
- Imagine if we prayed for our group every day.
- Imagine if we learned everything we could about the people in our group?
- Imagine if we cared for all the kids in our group?
What can you do to really care about your group?
3. Actually pray for each group member and their families.
Again, I’m not breaking any records for deep thoughts. But, it’s crazy to me, if we’re really being honest, how little we pray!?!
Get a journal or make an online note or a note on your phone, and keep a record of all the prayer requests in your group and actually…
Pray for them.
4. Support your Church and Pastor.
I know you’ve probably never met someone who just stirs up the drama pot whatever chance they get! But, sometimes, small groups can become havens for the complainers, the gossipers and the drama lovers. Especially about Church stuff.
Don’t allow that in your group! If you can’t fully support your church and pastor, maybe you’re at the wrong church.
Spend time praying for your church, your pastor and the staff. Pray for the leadership. Pray for the kids and students.
A great small group is when the talk is equally spread around. If you lead or host the group, remember this great principle…talk 20% of the time and listen 80%.
Now, it might take some time for you to feel comfortable enough to talk. That’s ok. But, its pretty awesome when every one in the group adds to the group.
Ask spiritual questions. Tell the group what you’re learning from scripture. Share what’s on your heart.
This is huge! Find some time to serve somebody! Serve the people in your group. When someone gets sick or life has taken a twist, feed them! Care for them. Or, as a group, find some time to serve your church or community.
There is something powerful that happens when your group unites outside of the group and serves.
7. Create special memories.
When someone has a birthday in our group, make a BIG deal about! Have your whole group sing to them, lay hands on them and pray for them and then celebrate with cake and ice cream.
If you have kids and students, make a big deal when they hit certain ages.
Go on vacations together. Do spring break together. Go to each other’s kids games.
Help each other. Our group helped us paint a room for our upcoming adoption.
8. Stick Together.
Yeah, this goes against some of the popular thoughts into group dynamics and ministry of always splitting up. But, the more time you have together, the deeper your community will be.
And, if someone in your group feels the nudge from the Holy Spirit to start their own group, send them out!! Celebrate them!!
If you don’t want your group to be GREAT, then don’t do any of these things.
Here’s the thing, the less you do, the more you can do better. So, you may have to say no to some things in your life to make your group great, but I promise you…it will be worth it!
Put some energy into these things and do them over time and your small group will be GREAT!
It will become a weekly highlight. It will become something that your entire family looks forward to!