One of the churches in which I serve sat in an interesting place geographically. Now on our side of the street it was beginning to change. There were homes being flipped, it was gentrifying, it was quickly becoming a place that you wanted to live. But directly across the street was a completely different story. There were a lot of gangs and drugs and violence and it was not a place that you wanted to be. Now a couple of our small groups decided to make a difference in that community. They begin to go over one time a month and just love on one block at a time. They took basic needs, batteries and light bulbs and toilet paper and just knocked on doors and just loved that community. And slowly over time that community began to change because of those small groups. Eventually that led to what we call a dream center, a 24/7 dream center that had legal services, had a food pantry, had ministries for single moms and became a bright light in that dark place.
So how do you help your small group get there? How do we eventually change our community and change our world? Let me give you four steps to help your group become a serving group.
Step one is you’ve got to serve your group first. If you expect your small group to become a serving group, you have to first model servant leadership for your group members. You know Paul gave these instructions to the church in Philippi. He said, do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility, consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should not look out only for his own interest, but also for the interest of others. Adopt the same attitude is that of Jesus Christ. Jesus left us the ultimate example of servanthood as he served his disciples and ultimately all of us on the cross, so serve your group first. Do it by a washing their car, watching their kids so they can go out for dinner, but look for tangible ways that you can serve your group, first.
Second step is empower group members to serve the group. You’re discipling your group members by helping them discover their spiritual gifts in order to utilize with them within the group. So look for opportunities for others to host the group or maybe provide the food or facilitate the discussion or maybe handle the prayer time or look for missional opportunities outside of the group, but find out where your group members are gifted, where their spiritual gifts are and then help them serve the group.
Step number three is served together in the church. You know, there’s always opportunities for us to serve at our church. Maybe it’s some landscaping or a wall needs to be painted in a classroom or maybe serve in a classroom to give those teachers a break on a Sunday, but look for somewhere that you can serve together in the church.
And then number four is serve together in the community. Just like our small groups saw need directly across the street from where we were, there are needs in your community. So look outside of the walls where you meet every single week. Maybe there is an elementary school that needs supplies in the fall, or maybe there’s a single mom that just simply needs her lawn mowed. Look around, there’s needs in your community and gather your group and let’s serve those needs.
So four steps. Serve your group first, empower your group members to serve, serve together in the church and serve together in the community. If you follow those, someday, your group will change the world.