I sat in church next to the same couple for 6 years. I knew their names, hugged their necks, and I loved them. But, I didn’t know them. For some reason, we wound up serving together in the same small group ministry team. We worked together, prayed together and ate together. They became some of my best friends on earth. When their parents died, I was there for them. When my son was sick, they were there for us. That would never have happened if we didn’t spend time together as part of a group. I’m glad we did.
Many church members face the same issues. They love the people in their church, but they don’t know them. They go to church, but don’t feel like they are the church. They feel alone, but they crave community.
Here are some tips to help you build community with small groups.
Small groups are grounded in history. Most of the churches planted by the Apostles were small groups of people who loved Jesus and loved each other. They met in homes and grew in faith and size.
Small groups make the church come alive. When people live their lives together while focused on Jesus, life explodes. They move from being told to love each other to actually loving each other.
Small groups can create the space for faith. Everyone doesn’t believe in Jesus. Some will never enter a church building, but everyone wants community. Small groups give people space to belong before they believe. They get to hear and see the gospel from people they know, and many will come to faith.
Small groups give people a chance to grow. The smaller setting gives people opportunities to identify and use the gifts that God has given them. Everyone can’t preach a sermon on Sunday, but everyone can do something, someday.
Small groups help people find freedom and comfort. Small groups create closer connections where people can share their struggles and pain. It gives people a place to go for prayer and encouragement, and prayer works.
Small groups come in all shapes and sizes. You can have study groups, service groups, or affinity groups. Your groups only need two things to thrive—Jesus and time. Don’t limit small groups to one thing.
Whatever you do, make your big church small and your people will thank you.