If you have heard anything about Small Groups at College Park, it has likely been the comment that they make a large church seem smaller. That’s because of caring relationships.
How You Care for Family
Small Groups can be varied in size, diverse in age, and differ in seasons of life, yet none of these prevent them from being rich in relationship. Think of how you care for your diverse family and loved ones: that is the same type of care that is vital in the health of a Small Group.
- Think of what you do when a family member is struggling and you step in to serve their need: Small Groups need loving intervention.
- Think of how you celebrate your family members—their birthdays, marriages, new births, and graduations: Small Group members need you to rejoice with them!
- Think of how you come alongside siblings or parents when they lose a family member or a friend, or when they lose a job or a prodigal family member: Small Groups need to grieve together.
Being mindful as Small Group Leaders that we are caring for the body of Christ as family helps us point to the sufficiency of Jesus in all seasons of life. Just as there are challenges with family, there are challenges in Small Groups. How do we know how best to care? We actively depend on Christ to guide us.
Our role as leaders is not to be all things to all people. Instead, we can use three tools:
- Loving support
These three tools should be used to remind Small Group members that God is sustaining them.
We use these spiritual tools while we exercise very practical help: tangible opportunities such as accompanying them to a doctor’s appointment or medical test, running errands for them when they are impaired, providing a meal, sending a card, or reaching out to them by a call or text. These are the same things we’d do for family.
What About Boundaries?
These privileges to walk alongside others also have boundaries. Boundaries are not barriers; they are a healthy margin to assure that we care in the manner God can grow the other person’s trust, faith and hope in Him—not in dependency on us or others in the Small Group.
Determining the boundary takes prayer for discernment, and it takes patience while waiting on God to act and provide guidance.
The Fruit of Joy
Over time as a Small Group, relationships deepen, and we receive the gift of seeing fruit from God’s Spirit in the lives of our brothers and sisters. Seeing their godly perseverance being modeled in the harder seasons of growth brings huge joy to a leader!
When perseverance is modeled, group members learn how to come alongside one another. Those who do not have family close by, those who are single or widowed, and those struggling with challenges in health, family or their job begin to come alongside each other after they’ve seen us model care! Care multiplies.
Using care to shepherd your Small Group creates a loving platform beyond what we could provide alone as leaders. God is glorified as his Spirit moves within the group to care in ways we cannot. Care takes risk; it takes sacrifice; but God is faithful and ever present to demonstrate the sufficiency of all he is to us and to the needs of those in Small Group.