Celebrating Small Group Life
Round tabled with our Bridge Church Small Group Leaders this week for a seasonal troubleshooting and celebrating session. Proud moment for the church planter, when you realize that what started as one small group in 2011, has now grown to 10 groups! We celebrated new groups and first time group engagements. We trouble shot consistency, communication, pastoral care issues. A few of the highlights and developing strategies from our journey to effective group ministry:
- Seasonal Rhythm. We’ve adopted three seasons as opportunities to start new groups, for groups to take natural breaks, and to emphasize new connections. This includes a Small Group Leader round table, one month prior to each new seasons kickoff. A rhythm is a system that can give natural start and stops for groups.
- Geaux Projects for Groups. Each group is encouraged to organize around the strategy Gather-Grow-Geaux. How are we going to gather this season (where, how often, how long, etc.)? How are we going to grow this season (track with sermon series, marriage study, financial study, etc.)? How are we going to geaux this season (how will we serve and make a difference in our community together)? This seasons Geaux Projects have included projects for local widows, helping flood victims, serving local children’s home, shared date nights for couples, neighborhood block parties, etc.
- Putting our Money Where our Mouth Is. A few years ago it hit me that we talk about how important groups are but our budget doesn’t back that up. So now, each group gets $1,000 per year to make magic happen with group life. This is turned into incredible impact through the opportunity for groups to be responsive to the needs around them and creatively serve one another and their communities. This year, we were able to do that twice. Love hearing the stories of how this money is spent.
Capacity for making disciples is best expanded at the group level. Churches that grow must find ways to multiply gatherings (rows), groups (circles), and teams (strengths).
If you go to a church, but are not involved in a group, get involved ASAP. We like to say,
“Life change happens best in circles, not rows.”
Getting involved in a group that forms in a circle is different than sitting in a church with rows.
– In a circle you look someone in the face.
– In a circle there is dialogue & conversation.
– In a circle, you let down your defenses & engage.
These are critical elements of the kinds of relationships that bring life change.
If you’re in West St. Tammany Parish, and want to connect with one of our Bridge groups, sign up here.