In my last post, I introduced the concept of rhythms in small groups and why they are so important to fulfilling our mission. Today I want to look at one example of what a healthy rhythm could look like.
AN EXAMPLE OF A GOOD RHYTHM
When our rhythms of small group life are guided by our mission of making disciples who love God, one another, and the lost, there is incredible flexibility. What follows is merely one example meant to demonstrate the kind of flexibility you actually have. Instead of following the same format every week, I would suggest that our mission is better served by establishing rhythms like the ones below.
1. Dinner two times a month. You may choose to make every other small group meeting a meal. In these times there is no agenda except being together, enjoying each other’s presence, and making it normal to talk about what Jesus is doing in and around you.
2. Study two times a month. The other two weeks of the month your group may choose to do sermon discussion questions or study a book of the bible. This anchors your group in God’s word and opens up opportunity for rich times of soul care and encouragement.
3. Men/Women meet two times a month for informal hangout. One of the problems many small groups face is how to engage their lost friends. Often a formal Bible study isn’t the sort of environment a lost person would feel comfortable attending. But they would gladly come hang out at a sports bar with a group of guys, or go out to coffee or a kids play date with a group of women. Having standing informal hangouts creates a non-threatening opportunity to invite unbelievers into your community’s rhythm. Building trust in non-threatening environments will likely open them to join you in more Bible-centered environments.
4. Neighborhood improvement projects once a month. Once a month your small group may take a Sunday afternoon and serve the neighborhood. Talk to your neighborhood association and ask what their needs are. Chances are, they will be delighted to receive any help they can get. Or look for neighbors whose property needs attention and offer to help them improve it. Our small group has started doing this, and Fellowship Louisville made it into our community newsletter. You never know what kind of evangelistic doors this will open for your group by serving your neighborhoods.
5. Neighborhood waffles every other week. In his book Community, Brad House shares that his community group placed a three foot tall orange fork in his front yard every other Saturday morning and provided waffles, cinnamon roles, and coffee for the neighborhood. As you can imagine, word of mouth spread quickly, and they were able to regularly interact with their neighbors and build relationships.
It is important to point out that not everybody in the group needs to attend every single event. The important part is that group members are in the rhythm consistently enough that the mission is being accomplished in their lives and in the lives of unbelievers.
Your group will have to find the rhythm that works for you. You will have your own challenges and unique circumstances you must prayerfully consider before you establish your rhythms of life together. But whatever you do, your rhythms must be guided by the mission of making maturing disciples. Disciples who are growing in love for God, one another, and the lost. If you’re rhythms are standing in the way of the mission, it’s time to rethink how your group might align themselves with God’s purposes.
Question: What are some rhythms your small group could establish this year to help reach your neighborhood with the gospel?