Don't get me wrong. Group meetings are a good thing. However, I'm not sure that God is sitting with a checklist to see who shows up at small group meetings and who does not. I think he is much more concerned about things like whether we love one another, how we are sacrificing for each other, if we are forgiving each other, and the like.
I think he is looking at how we live our lives and whether our interaction with one another is distinctive from the way typical relationships occur in our world. Is our relational pattern marked by self-sacrificial love? When this occurs our small groups move beyond just connecting in meeting and into an experience of community and mission.
How do we do this? How do we lead people into this experience? One of the first things to do as a leader is to help people see that there is a possibility for more than just a nice weekly group meeting. Start with a conversation with two or three people. Don't announce anything to the entire group. Start small and ask questions. For instance:
- What would you like to see happen in this group?
- How is God working in our group already that might provide a clue about what's next?
- How would you like to see the group connect in deeper ways?
- What is on your heart regarding ways we could impact our local neighborhood?
- How can we work together differently than we are currently doing?