I recently read an article from Success Magazine and was intrigued by a list they created on ‘Kick Starting’ the new year. In this blog I would like to mention 4 from the list which challenged me and got me thinking about small group ministry.
- Write letters to three people in your life to let them know what they mean to you.
I was amazed that this rated as number 2 on the ‘kick start’ your year list in Success Magazine! In a world where we are constantly in touch with one another through text messages and other social media apps, a written letter still obviously has great power for good. I shouldn’t really be surprised, because when I think about the times I have received a letter from someone expressing their appreciation of me I know it has a profound and positive impact.
So, in our small group context how can you kick start this year by writing letters? Who would you write to? Maybe a letter to a prospective small group leader outlining the gifts, qualities and leadership you see them? Maybe a letter to your Senior Pastor encouraging him or her in their role. Maybe a letter to your admin support team? I am sure you can add others to your list.
- Find a volunteer opportunity.
Many corporations and successful businesses make sure that their staff are involved in volunteer programs. They value the power of giving back, serving others and making a difference in their local community.
Most small group ministries have this as one of their core values, (to be involved in serving in mission and ministry together as a group). But do you have a specific plan for how you will encourage you groups this year to take on volunteer projects in the local community or overseas? Often, groups struggle to come up with ideas, so maybe someone in your team could compile a list of possible projects and give it out to groups at the beginning of the year.
- Practice the one-a-day principle.
Mark Sanborn writes “You can’t delight everybody all the time, but you can do something extraordinary for someone each day.”
Often, I find that ‘little’ things can be extraordinary, make a colleague a cup of tea, opening the door for someone, speaking an encouraging word to a stranger, complimenting your children, smiling at the barista, raking leaves for your neighbour, returning someone else’s shopping trolley, listening to a friend. This principle is an ‘attitudinal response’ and if practiced will become part of our ‘dna’ AND the impact of practicing this principle will create an amazing culture in any small group you are leading.
- Write a ‘not-to-do-list”.
This ‘kick start’ point really stood out to me. I love writing lists, it helps me feel organised, helps me remember what I need to do, and I can visually see what I have achieved. (Nothing more positive than seeing a list with lots of items crossed off!) BUT I have never written a ‘not-to-do list’. The writer of the article reminds me that there is a difference between being busy and being productive and poses the challenge – “What are you wasting your time on? ”
This is an interesting and powerful question to reflect on when it comes to small groups, what might your small group/s be ‘wasting time on’? What if you encouraged each small group to have an open and honest discussion around this question? Maybe it would be a great ‘kick start’ and help clarify what the group really wants to achieve this year!