Balancing the 5 Purposes in Your Small Group

All small groups want to be healthy and effective. Help them meet those goals by providing suggestions for balancing the biblical purposes.

Fellowship – Make a group telephone call from your meeting to any member who is absent. Pass the phone around so everyone can talk. Open the call by saying, “We just want you to know that we miss you. Here’s Julie…”

Discipleship – Read 1 Thessalonians 2:7-12 and discuss the similarities between the parenting and disciplining. Ask the group, “Who, if anyone, has been like a spiritual parent to you? Describe the impact of that
person on your life and faith.”

Ministry – Randomly select someone in your group and throw that person a surprise birthday party even if the real birthday isn’t for another four months! Let everyone in the group contribute to the festivities with food or paper goods and ask each person to bring an inexpensive, fun gift for the birthday boy or girl.

Evangelism – If your group is made up of a single ethnic group and you want to connect with other ethnic groups, consider inviting people from another church or people of a different ethnic origin. Have them visit a meeting and then, if theirs is an organized group, attend one of their activities. Consider a service project that you can do together.

Worship – Have your group celebrate Communion outdoors. You’ll be amazed by how the different setting impacts the worship experience.  

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Steve Gladen
Steve Gladen has been on staff at Saddleback Church since 1998; he currently oversees the strategic launch and development of small groups at Saddleback as well as the staff of the Small Group Network. He has focused on small groups in several churches for almost 20 years. Steve oversees 2,500 adult small groups at Saddleback and loves seeing a big church become small through true community developed in group life. He has co-authored several books, including 250 Big Ideas for Small Groups, Building Healthy Small Groups in Your Church, Small Groups With Purpose, Leading Small Groups With Purpose, and Don't Lead Alone. Steve does consulting and seminars championing small groups and what it means to be Purpose Driven in a small-group ministry.