Another way to help foster friendship in our groups is through serving together. Serving alongside one another moves us outside our normal routine and helps create one more opportunity for friendship to organically grow. In fact, of all the ways group connections evolve to genuine friendship, serving together is often reported as one of the most powerful, unifying, life-giving moments in a group’s story.
Even more importantly than what we get out of serving together, the reality is we are called to serve others. In various ways, throughout the Bible, we are invited to give and demonstrate God’s love to others. Being a tangible example of God’s love is part of being a Jesus follower; it’s one of the ways we show others who God is and what he’s really about. The goal here is not to serve out of obligation, guilt or shame, but rather as a representation of what God is doing in us. While there are times to simply stand up to serve because a need must be met, the goal is that our service comes from the overflow of what God has done for us and who he is to us, as well as our love for others.
As the group leader, your next right steps may include:
- Pray that God helps your group be of service. Ask God to show your group opportunities to serve and to help your group know what needs it’s being called to fill.
- Within the next few weeks, invite your group members to start brainstorming, thinking and praying about how you can all serve together.
- If you lack margin to organize a service project, start thinking and praying about who in your group may be the perfect candidate to lead the project. If you cannot think of anyone specifically, consider tossing the leadership opportunity out to a few people in your group or even the whole group. (To read more about sharing the load, see Leader Tip #3 on the the attached document.)
How each of our groups serve may vary greatly, and that is to be expected. Our groups are all made up of different people so we each need to find what God is inviting our group to do. For one group, this may mean helping clean a local school, another may choose to adopt a local family in need, while other groups may choose to serve at a local shelter. I have seen groups serve in countless ways over the years; there really is no wrong or right way to serve — the bottom line is we do something helpful with a heart of love.