Every small group can lose heart. That is, over time meetings have become part of the weekly routine, doing life together has turned into just being together, and just showing up consistently feels like a God-sized goal.
Reigniting your small group’s passion is key to experiencing all that group life has to offer. You might try a few of the following…
1. Go on a mission trip together. Leaving town together would probably be enough. But when a small group gets away together setting aside their daily routines, laughing, serving, and accomplishing a common goal together, you can almost be sure, your group will come back anticipating being in life-transforming Christian community again.
2. Adopt the street, cul de sac or subdivision where your group meets. Eddie Mosley, small group pastor at LifePoint Church in Smyrna, Tennessee and author of Connecting in Communities, has made small groups being the mission point for the subdivision where the group is meeting. I’ve spoken there on multiple occasions. I’ve noticed that there is always a high level of energy, anticipation, and expectation amongst his group leaders. And it seems that his groups are all psyched about what they are doing. Small groups host Easter Egg hunts, Christmas celebrations, pool parties, etc… for the people in the homes near their own. Taking on this mindset will keep a group invigorated as they are constantly in “being on mission” mode anticipating the next creative activity they can dream up to connect with their own neighbors.
3. Revisit and, if necessary, rewrite the group covenant. Group covenants create a high level of anticipation when a group begins meeting. A healthy covenant will include keeping confidentiality, attending meetings consistently, someday multiplying the group, etc… When a group grows stagnant, pull out the covenant and ask the group to help do a rewrite. Ask them what they would like to include in the covenant that doesn’t exist there or what they’d like to replace. Tell the group that the rewrite should include some things that are part of the group’s identity. Maybe the group has realized they are very missional so they’ll add some missional responsibilities to the covenant. Maybe the group now understands that they all like to travel so they’ll add a weekend prayer retreat to the covenant. Or maybe the group now knows that they all are dealing with parenting teen issues so the group adds holding one another accountable to do certain things with or for their teens. A covenant rewrite can be the beginning of a group experiencing new life.
4. Go on a prayer retreat together asking God to reveal to the group what her next steps are, new mission is, and/or who needs to be in this group but isn’t at present. Anytime a group of believers go seeking God’s direction and He responds, there is new life. Taking one day, an afternoon, or a meeting time, to pray about what God would have the group involved in in the future will inspire and motivate group members. Coming to communal decisions concerning God’s direction is a key factor to keeping to spiritual vitality in a small group.
5. Create a mission/purpose statement for the group together. Too many groups meet to “be a small group.” A group creating a mission/purpose statement together will give the group focus and will lead to the group creating a strategy to be who she has concluded she must be. Take the time to create a purpose statement together. This will revitalize the hearts of group members as they were involved in the process and have ownership of who the group is going to become.