It’s important for small group leaders to be committed to helping the people in their groups learn to care for and be involved in the lives of people outside the group — including people who don’t follow Jesus. Ideally, believers in a small group should receive, grow and give.
Turning the corner from getting to giving is often a difficult step. It’s far easier for people to stay in the comfort of the group and focus on themselves. However, a Christian cannot love God without caring about others.
Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. (1 John 4:7-8, New Living Translation)
A good small group will reflect the priority of loving and caring for people. Here are some ways you can help your group start reaching out.
Encouraging each other to be sensitive to the needs of others is a big part of our becoming like Jesus. Here are some ways for your group to do that:
Regardless of where they are on their spiritual journeys, people can come together by giving to others.
Take into account where your group members are in their spiritual lives when you plan an activity to help them go from getting to giving. Start with a simple activity to help build a caring attitude about those outside of the group.
Like many things in life, compassion is often caught from others. If reaching out to others is part of your life, your group members will learn from your example.
Take individuals in the group with you while you do ministry and they will often come back personally motivated to do the same kind of ministry.
A small group can reach out to the people around them in many ways, but none is more important than reaching out with the good news of the gospel. The greatest need any person has is to be reconciled to God, so the best gift we can offer people is to introduce them to Christ.
Equip your group members to share their faith. Take them with you to model how you share your faith. Teach them how to share the gospel using a simple tool like the Knowing God Personally booklet.
Sharing the good news of forgiveness through Jesus and serving others is essential to following Christ. A group that pursues loving God will naturally love and pursue people as a result.
Adapted from Rick Hove, “The Ultimate Roadtrip: A Guide to Leading Small Groups” (Orlando: CruPress, 2010). Order at Crupress.com.
Several questions may come to mind as you plan your small group. Here are four components that are key to most small groups or Bible studies that will answer your questions.
Life-changing small group environments are less about how-tos and more about experiencing Jesus. They are not focused on building head knowledge but on changing hearts and minds. These communities not only equip their members for service but also expose sin and call people to adore Christ. Christ-centered communities transform lives from the inside out.
An environment where Christians and non-Christians can study the Bible together and care for one another can be beneficial to everyone involved.
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