Alright adults, its your turn. My last two post were geared toward the small groups of youth at camp and at church. This was due to being asked to speak to small group leaders of a camp on how to do small groups. The last 3 years of my ministry has been dedicated to forming small groups (missional communities) for adults in a church plant. It really doesn’t matter though what kind of small group we are discussing, the principle behind the concept is the same for all groups. The more time you spend outside of your small group with people from your small group, the better your actual small group will be.
The more time you spend outside of your small group with people from your small group, the better your small group will be.
Leaders, think about what you want for your the members of your small groups or what constitutes a good small group. What you really want is for people to open up to each other, to share their deep concerns, hurts, praises, and live life with each other. It can take an entire semester of year to even come close to that kind of bonding between adults if you just see each other in the small group and at church. However, if there is a concerted effort to spend time with each other out side of the small group meeting time, when you sent down for the group time, it will be a much more valuable time.
For example, I recently had a group plan to all go eat with each other after church. A very old yet simple and effective idea. They finally left the restaurant after over 3 hours of talking with each other. They got to know one another on a whole new level, a fun and social level. I attended that groups next meeting and it was one of the most productive small groups I have ever been a part of. Everyone participated and shared their thoughts and opinions like they had never been closer. They didn’t have to spend that time getting into each others lives, they were already in each others lives so they could move forward in their purpose.
So how does this look for your Adult Small Groups?
How crazy are our work days?!?! Sometimes its hard to even find time to eat. On the flip side, many of us spend our lunches in networking groups where lunch is part of the deal. If you as a leader will simply schedule lunches far enough out with your group members, they can make it and they will find it a much needed breather from work. Furthermore, if your group members will begin to schedule lunches with each other they will find friendships begin to flourish. These aren’t bible studies, prayer meetings, or counseling sessions. It’s just lunch between friends getting to know each other.
Every time you meet with each other it doesn’t have to be a bible study, prayer meeting, or counseling session. It really can just be friends.
Have a “Honey-Do” list a mile long? Or maybe your buddy just got a new dog and has to put up a fence. Or your friend is having a baby and really needs to get the walls painted and ceiling fans hung before the baby arrives. Perhaps there is a new craft or nicknack that you want to make. Or maybe someone you know has been sick and their lawn is over grown and the shrubs look hideous. I think you get the point. If there is something to do and or work on, it is a great time to spend time with each other. Beside the fact that and extra set of hands is always helpful, think of the time you get to spend with each other and shoot the breeze. If you shoot the breeze enough with someone, eventually the storm in their life or yours will come and you can face it together. My own salvation story revolves around a handful of men spending time with me teaching me how to use my hands to build a building.
If you shoot the breeze enough, eventually the storms will come.
I’m admit out of my league here, but think I need to mention it. If you have young kids, there is no better fun for them and a reprieve from having to entertain them, than having them play with other kids. This can easily be done during the week if you don’t have to work or even after work. But then how much fun is a simple grill out on the weekend and have someone over for a play date with your kids. The kids get to play together and you get some great time to just hang out with people your age.
Ok, back to my wheelhouse. Where I live, every Saturday in the fall has the possibility to be an event. All I need is a reason to get together will some friends and eat; most of the time we call that the big game. Honestly, there are Saturdays where I go to 3 or more houses to watch different games. These are the times when you can just be yourself and cheer for your team and talk “polite” trash about the other team and more importantly spend time with people. If you are intentional about this, your small group can easily be a part of these events. For a long time I have been getting together to watch TV shows. I remember in college a bunch of us would get together to watch Survivor and Friends. To tell you the truth, I don’t even like Survivor (except for the games), but I would go just to be around those people. Right now, I get together with a group of people on Sunday nights to watch a certain show that will remain nameless (it’s The Walking Dead). At this point, we watch the show and discuss it, but we are really there to be with each other, not for some stupid show. But, its those times of conversation during half time or during commercials or after the game that we really get to know each other.
I don’t even like what I am watching, I just want to be with the people.
Want to get close to a group quick, serve with them. Do something for someone else. Walk the streets of a neighborhood and pick up trash, all you have to do is talk and pick up garbage. Go sort food for the city food pantry, all you have to do is sort and talk. Build a wheelchair ramp or roof a house for someone, all you have to do is build and you got it, talk. Get the point. People love to tell stories, our stories are our lives, tell each other your stories and you know each others lives.
Of course there are other ways to spend time with each other, these are just a few. Get out there and get to know each other, then when you sit down to spend time with God together, watch God do some incredible things. I have promised again and again, if you will spend the time outside of your small group time, you will have great small groups.
If you will spend the time outside of your small group time, you will have great small groups.
© Jonathan Haley Uhrig 2014