Should Christians even acknowledge (let alone celebrate) Halloween? In some ways, it’s easy to make a case that we should avoid it entirely. After all, it has roots in evil spirits!
While we should look for opportunities to talk about our faith, we also need to consider something that might seem obvious: Is this person even interested in what I’m saying?
For a deeper perspective on justice and redemption in the Bible, check out this short video by the Bible Project. It's good stuff.
It's nearly Be Rich time once again! Our annual giving and serving campaign, launches November 5. As part of the campaign, we want to help you prepare to Serve Together with your small group.
Serving together as a group never feels urgent. In fact, if you don't make a plan, it probably won't happen at all.
It may be time to multiply. Does that freak you out a little? Does it make you wonder why we make a big fuss over ending groups.
Are you currently asking, “What should my group study next?” There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to that question, but check out groupresources.org by clicking the Resources link at the top of this page. But how do you actually choose what's right for your group?
One of your unique roles as a leader is to keep an eye on whether the group is helping each of its members grow in their relationships with Jesus. But how do you do that? A great practical way to gauge the health of your group is to regularly ask: How are we growing in the Three Vital Relationships?
Intimacy with God
- Where is God currently stretching me?
- Are my daily actions becoming more aligned with the priorities of Scripture?
- Are my times with God consistent?
Community with Insiders
- Am I openly sharing with others what is really going on in my life?
- As difficult circumstances arise, how are group members responding to one another?
- Are we willing to challenge one another in order to pursue God's best for our lives?
Influence with Outsiders
- Who am I regularly praying for who doesn't know Christ?
- What am I doing to connect with someone in my circle of influence who doesn't know Christ?
- Does my group challenge and encourage me to invest in someone who doesn't know Christ?
When something is wrong, is your first instinct to say, "Well, at least . . ."? Check out this short video featuring author and research professor Brené Brown.
On Monday, I wrote about why Invest and Invite can be a great approach to group multiplication. In this post, I want to give you six practical ways to weave Invest and Invite into the life of your group.
The key to the success of this approach is to continually cast vision about the importance of Influence with Outsiders. Introduce the concept early in the life of the group. Be intentional about revisiting it regularly.
- Plant the seeds (first 6-8 weeks). While the group is still brand new, cast a vision for what it means to have Influence with Outsiders, including what it means to Invest and Invite. Session 7 of Community: Starting Well In Your Small Group is all about Influence with Outsiders. It'll help you establish that vital relationship as a shared value in your group. Once you're finished with the 8-week starter period, resources like Go Fish, Start: Becoming a Good Samaritan, and Like Your Neighbor? are a great way to revisit the topic periodically throughout the life of the group.
- Memorialize the plan (8 weeks). As the group moves out of the 8-week starter period, the Group Agreement is a great tool for emphasizing the importance of a commitment to investing and inviting. The agreement addresses multiplication in two places—once in the values section, and again in the first guideline (where group members agree on the lifespan of the group). As you walk the group through the agreement, cast vision for why multiplication is such an important part of the Community Group experience.
- Commit to pray (2–3 months in). Once you've introduced Influence with Outsiders and Invest and Invite, raise the stakes a little. During prayer time one evening, ask everyone in the group to think about and share the names of those they want to invest in. Commit to pray for these people. Have someone in the group write all of their names down and distribute them to the group so they can pray for them on an ongoing basis.
- Schedule regular checkups (every 6–8 weeks). Every six to eight weeks, revisit the Invest and Invite prayer requests. Ask everyone how it's going and if there are more specific ways the group can be praying. At the midway point of the group's life span, dedicate one meeting to a group health checkup. Use the agreement to lead an informal discussion about how the group is doing in each of the values and guidelines. This provides an excellent opportunity to talk about Invest and Invite, and whether people need additional support.
- Beat the drum (6 months before multiplying). When the group begins to enter the home stretch—the six months before to multiplying—it's time to emphasize what the group needs to do to get ready for multiplying. Now is the time for group members to mention to the people they've been investing in that the group will be multiplying soon. From this point on, talk about multiplication at least once a month.
- Finalize the group effort (2–3 months before multiplying). As multiplication time draws near, group members can help one another with their invest and invite activities. As the existing group wraps up, host social events. Invite current group members and the people they've been investing in. This gives outsiders a taste of what Community Group is like. Take a few minutes to explain how Community Groups work. Have group members share a few stories about their Community Group experiences.
Let me wrap up with a reminder. Lists like this one are great because they're easy to read, help you absorb information quickly, and give you actionable steps. But they can also make things like Invest and Invite come across as a project made up of a series of simple tasks. But Invest and Invite is about relationships. It's about people . . . and people aren't projects. This list of six tasks isn't an end itself. It's a means to producing a heart for outsiders in you and your group members. Invest and Invite only works when the people you invest in know that you really do care about them.
One of the best and easiest ways to bring those outside the faith in is to invest in their lives and, when the time is right, invite them to an environment where they can begin to experience and explore the gospel.
We believe that to grow spiritually a person must focus on his or her relationship with God, with other believers, and with unbelievers.