The best groups are high in health and impact for God’s Kingdom. For both to be true, a leader must be prepared to welcome people into their group’s life together regardless of where they are at in their commitment to Christ and His Church. We reflect the beauty and greatness of our God when we accept one another just as Christ accepted us (Romans 15:7).
The more group leaders know how to welcome and encourage truth-searching guests, the more effective they will be with engaging them with the Good News in transformational ways. To this end, I’ve compiled twenty-one recommendations for how you can welcome spiritual seekers, build relationships with them, and inspire everyone to grow in their relationship with Jesus.
In my next post, I’ll share eleven more thoughts to help group leaders create a welcoming environment for newcomers and inspire everyone to take their next steps in their relationship with Christ.
Recently, I got to speak at the Leadership Summit for Woodside Bible Church. During my time with them, I was interviewed about the ten questions below. I’d be happy to share the video of my Q&A with you if you let me know via the “CONTACT ME” page of my website.
There are so many things that compete for people’s time in our culture – most people have too much to do and too much to manage. One of the most important things you can do as a group leader is to establish a common purpose.
Here is some practical guidance on how to lead through the effects that our busy culture has on groups. First, have a heart-to-heart meeting where you…
Food is the best ice-breaker. It seems to have the same effects that we like to get from ice-breakers like helping people engage in conversation, feel more at ease, and bonus…it fills tummies, which makes everyone feel more content! I think that’s why it’s been said that the quickest way to a person’s spirit is through their stomach!
Eating together is a vital part of your group life. There is something about gathering around a meal that knits the hearts of people together. In fact, sharing a meal is one of the most profound physical expressions of our life together in Jesus Christ. Some of the most significant events in the Bible center around food (1 Corinthians 11:17-34; Mark 14:22-25; John 13:1; Acts 2:42-47). Repeatedly, we see the early believers making food an integral part of their worship and community life together (Acts 2:42, 46, 20:7, 11). For example, the Lord’s Supper was meant to be just that…a supper!
The way that Communion (or Eucharist, meaning “Thanksgiving”) was celebrated in the Early Church was by sharing a meal together, usually in the evening (Luke 14:12; John 13:4, 21:20). The setting of the Lord’s Supper, even in the larger gatherings, was always the home (cf. Romans 16:23; Acts 20:7). Similarly, we ought to give thanks and remember our Lord Jesus Christ when we gather and share a meal with one another.
Make it a goal with your group to celebrate the Lord’s Supper once a season / semester. There are many creative ways to do this in your group and you can look to Matthew 26:26-29, Mark 14:22-25, Luke 22:14-20, John 13-17, and 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 for guidance on what to say and do during this time together so choose the one below that resonates the most with you and run with it!
Now if you’re like me, steps on what to do and say might be just the help you need to get started so here’s a suggested order:
Don’t miss out on this transformational experience that God will use to build the bond between your group members, deepen your relationship with Him, and share His selfless love with others!