The end of the Community Group year is just 5 weeks away. It may feel like a blur as you reflect on the last 7 months since groups began in the fall.
Every Community Group season is different. Some trimesters we see God break-through, relationships deepen, and new people connect. Other trimesters we wonder if God is doing anything at all in our group.As we wrap up the last 5 weeks of the Community Group year I wanted to put a few reminders before us to help us finish strong.
5 Reminders To Finish Strong
1. It all depends on God.
Leading a group can be exhilarating, but also overwhelming and discouraging. When you look at the spiritual progress in your group, or lack thereof, it can feel daunting to know how to help the people in your group.
We can create the environment, we can extend our support, we can listen, share scripture, and offer help and prayer, but as Paul reminds us, it is God who brings about growth and change.
"I planted the seed and Apollos watered it, but God made it grow." - 1 Corinthians 3:6
2. It's about relationships not meetings.
When people are no-shows, attendance is low, group discussion falls flat, and you have to pull teeth to get others to pray, you can drive away feeling like you never want to attend group again. When we gauge the health and success of group solely on what happens in our weekly meetings, we can lose perspective on what God can do beyond those meetings.
Meetings are a means to cultivate relationships, but they are only part of the process. We should work hard to create an environment in our meetings conducive to relational connection, but opportunities to cultivate relationships don't end there.
Take advantage of in the things you are already doing to cultivate relationships in your group:
read the same Bible reading plan together
serve together on Sundays
sit together in services
grab dinner together instead of doing a normal group meeting
attend birthday/graduation/wedding/holiday celebrations together
3. Share the load.
You can't care for everyone in your group equally. You can't hang out, be close friends, mentors, accountability partners, or counselors with everyone in your group. But you can invest in someone.
Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.
Since you can't invest in everyone equally, have your group pair up during prayer time for weekly encouragement and accountability. Encourage each pair to connect with each other at least 1 time during the week; texting, calling, or getting together.
Every group has enough people in their group to care for the people in their group.
4. You're not alone.
Sometimes there are care issues in group that go far beyond what you feel capable of handling. Sometimes there are issues in your own life you are having difficulty navigating.
While your group may be a great support to each other and to you, you also have Group Coaches and counselors at Northridge that would love to walk with you through these challenges.
Anytime you have a situation you are not sure how to handle, no matter how big or small, your group coach is here to help you. We give you our cell phone numbers for a reason. Call us or text us any time. We look forward to walking alongside of you through the highs and lows you are facing.
5. Stop to celebrate.
We are often so busy focusing on what we are doing that we miss what God is doing.
One practice I have found helpful is to take some time each Monday morning to write down how I've seen God at work in my group, in our church, and in the lives of the people I've interacted with over the past week.
Sometimes what God is doing comes quickly to mind; other times I have to stop and carefully review my calendar, text messages, email, last group meeting, or Sunday services to jog my memory. But when I pause long enough, I begin to see how God is moving.
Don't get so caught up looking for dramatic wins that you miss daily wins:
A prospect responds to your text.
An inconsistent attender shows up at group.
Someone shares a personal request instead of request for someone else.
Someone prays out-loud for the first time.
An unbelieving spouse attends a group social.
A group member joins your Bible reading plan.
You see an instagram post of group members hanging out together.
A group member shares a step they took as a result of Sunday's message.
If we never stop to celebrate, it's easy to look past the way God is moving.
I hope you find these 5 reminders helpful to thrive and not just survive the last 5 weeks of the group year.
"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." - Galatians 6:9
Community Groups Pastor
Life is better connected!