As we I had the privilege to be part of launching one of our newest LIFE Groups this year, here are some essential values of how a healthy small group can thrive. The four non-negotiable values I have highlighted to our new members as we have launched (I’m sure there are far more than just 4) are: Come, Care, Communicate and Change.
Over the following weeks I will take some time to write something about each of them – hoping that it might inspire you as a leader and encourage your group too.
This seems like a no brainer. If people don’t attend there is no group, there is no community there is no ‘us’. As much as this is part of the ABC of any gathering, it can so easily be seen that attendance is optional.
True, there are other pressures and unexpected urgent priorities that would demand our time and diminish our ability to attend. I believe that if we desire to experience relational intimacy and see spiritual growth – we need to show up. We need to see the small group as something that goes in the diary first, rather than an afterthought.
The secret is love. I am interested in things and people I love. I show up to things that I love. I rush home for things that I love. I sacrifice time, money and energy for things that I love. We need to pray and work hard as leaders to make sure that our small group gatherings are something people love (not just have) to go to.
The other secret is living intentionally. If we want to grow in Christ-likeness and have an impact on others – there is a price. Too often we are naïve enough to think that we will grow by accident. As if we could run a marathon on a whim or win an Olympic medal by chance.
- Practically, put it in your diary – in pen not pencil – maybe even highlighted.
- Practically, keep the commitment you made when you were passionate, even when you’re tired and don’t feel like showing up.
- Practically, realiZe that others will miss out from benefiting from the gifts that God has placed within you, to edify them.
- Practically, loneliness and isolation never built anyone up and encouraged them. The blunt truth is that you will lose out too.
- Practically, show your family that God comes first. Our generation needs to rediscover commitment.
- Practically, don’t attend out of guilt, but rather pray that the Spirit of God might give you the zeal you need.
- Practically, make yourself accountable. Tell a small group partner about the struggle and give them permission to come and pick you up and take you with them. We all will need to have and be such friends at times