Steve’s Tips

by Steve Gladen

Looking for ways to bring health and balance to your small groups? Why not give them some suggestions on how they might balance the biblical purposes in their groups?

Fellowship: Find out when and where another group from your church is meeting. Show up unannounced at the beginning of their meeting and explain, “You have been selected to be ambushed with love!” Unveil some treats you have brought for them, give a few hugs, and leave. Return to your usual meeting spot for some laughter, fellowship, and your own Bible study and prayer time.

Discipleship: Take a small garbage can to your group meeting and set it in the middle of the room. Then talk about the unhealthy thoughts, songs, movies, television shows, radio programs, websites, books, magazines, etc. that we allow into our minds. Ask group members to write down those things God is calling them to stay away from. As people tear up the pieces of paper and throw them in the trash can, have them make a prayerful commitment to God to think on Philippians 4:8. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.

Ministry: Matthew 6:1-4 tells us, Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Ask each person to respond to Jesus’ teaching by accepting the challenge to anonymously meet a need in the coming week.

Evangelism: Draw the street where you live and at least ten houses on your block. List on each house the names of the people who live there, including the children. Then note each family’s “spiritual address”: where are they with the Lord? When you’ve finished, use this map as a prayer list. By the way, if this exercise helps you realize that you don’t know the people you live around you, start introducing yourself and inviting people to your house for dinner!

Worship: Have each group member find a favorite verse about God’s love and read it to the group. This sharing may encourage others to open up and read their Bibles, to do some research, and to interact with one another.

For more suggestions like these read, 250 Big Ideas for Purpose Driven Small Groups by Steve Gladen.

Steve Gladen is the Pastor of Small Group Community at Saddleback Church.

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