Below you’ll find some neat ideas on cultivating community, cultivating spiritual growth and cultivating compassion for your group. The ideas below are suggestions and could feel overwhelming if we felt like our group was supposed to express all of the listed characteristics at once! It’s not supposed to be that way; groups go through seasons and the ideas below are helpful for navigating the seasons we go through together.
I invite you and your group to pause and wonder. Let the ideas below spur your imaginations. Let the ideas nudge your group toward experimenting with helpful ways of listening to and living like Jesus together. Sometimes all we need is a good question to come our way and we see new life blooming in its wake.
Thoughts On Cultivating Community
• Everyone has someone in their life who knows everything about them—there is nothing being carried alone in darkness • Within the group, both marriage and singleness are supported with a healthy and balanced perspective • People are comfortable both giving and receiving mentoring • People feel that they belong to a group who together form an authentic expression of church • The group is characterized by regular and gracious hospitality • You all feel loved emotionally and supported practically by the group—it’s not just going to meetings • People regularly discuss with each other how they are seeking to be better followers of Jesus • Overall, people feel surrounded by meaningful community
Thoughts On Cultivating Spiritual Growth
• Group members make regular time to retreat, reflect and pray • Together you have found a way of praying regularly that suits your life and community personality • People in the group feel close to God at the moment • Your group worships God in numerous creative ways • You hear God’s voice when you gather and put into practice what He is saying • As a group, you observe both regular and occasional Spiritual Disciplines • Together you find relevant ways to learn from and be shaped by Scripture
Thoughts On Cultivating Compassion
• Your group has a clear missional focus towards which you devote time and energy • Your community spends time with lots of friends and contacts who are not in church • In the last month, your group has found ways to lovingly demonstrate the power of the Kingdom to people who are not Christians • Your group has seen people with whom you are in contact start to follow God in the last year • Members are involved in lots of activities beyond church life • The place where many group members spend most of their time (at work, study, play, etc.) is predominately in relationships with non-Christians • As a group, you are excited about your involvement in serving the wider missional context • In the last three months, each member has offered to pray with someone who is not a Christian • Your group has a name that reflects who you are • Your group is actively involved in an area in which injustice exists
[WIth some of my own editing, these ideas mostly come from: Breen, Mike; Alex Absalom (2010–11–11). Launching Missional Communities (Kindle Locations 3073–3082). 3DM. Kindle Edition.]