Effective Bible study groups do four things well. They reach, teach, minister, and fellowship. But, building community through fellowship is more than simply enjoying coffee and donuts prior to the Bible study time.
My experience is that the more members of my group get together outside of group time, the stronger our community becomes. The fellowship/community during group time becomes an overflow of what takes place outside of group. Consider one or more of these ideas to build fellowship and strengthen community with your group.
1. Go to a movie together. Following the movie, see who wants to go get ice cream!
2. Do a ministry project together. Clean up an elderly or homebound member’s yard, serve a meal at a homeless shelter, or any ministry that involves your group serving together.
3. Go on a video or photo scavenger hunt. Divide the group into teams. Teams must secure video or photos of their group at certain iconic locations around town or with members of your church.
4. Family Picnic! Bring the kids and dogs and head to a park for a group picnic.
5. Have a theme party, such as a Hawaiian Luau, an 80’s Fellowship, Mexican Fiesta, or Old West Day. Everyone can dress appropriate to the theme. Food and game choices can match certain themes.
6. Dinner for Eight. Groups of eight meet at a member’s home or restaurant of their choice. The group consists of members and prospects. All of the groups end up together for games and desert is served to top off the evening.
7. Take Me Out to the Ballgame! Group attends a sporting event together such as a minor league baseball, or college baseball game. Consider a tail-gate fellowship before the game!
8. Women’s Fellowships and Men’s Fellowships. Sometimes it’s good for the ladies to get with the ladies and the men to get with the men. Women could consider scrapbooking, paper crafting, spa, or shopping. Men could go hunting, fishing, to a gun range or skeet shoot, or golf driving range. Some of these activities could be of interest to the entire group!
The important thing to remember is that it’s not WHAT you do, but WHO you do it with! The purpose of any fellowship is to build relationships and have fun!