It happened week 4 of our small group meeting together at a next door pancake house. Near the close of our meeting we asked our waitress, who had been serving us the past few weeks, if there was anything we could pray about for her. It was a simple question, but it made an impact.
She first stepped back, cast a surprised look, and then quickly replied, “Yes. I have a couple things you can pray about.” Later she enthusiastically asked if she could share a third request. Of course we said, “Yes!” After the first exchange she left our table with a tear in her eye. She also expressed, “You’ve made my day!”
I’ll never forget the look on our faces. We were all somewhat stunned at our waitress’ response. We then talked about how amazing it would be if we could have more groups from our church meeting in restaurants/public spaces throughout our community, building relationships with guests/patrons/staff, all-the-while sharing the love of Jesus.
In all honesty doing something like this isn’t the most sacrificial thing to do as a follower of Jesus. But it is one practical step towards breaking out of our Christian bubbles and bringing the church INTO the community.
Here are some tips on doing group life OUT and IN the community:
- Meet as smaller, small groups of 3-5 people. This will offer more intimate and relational building time with wait staff and regular patrons.
- Launch a “Turbo” group to get this kind of group off the ground; turbo meaning a defined period of meeting together (i.e. 10 weeks). After the defined period ends each group member would then be challenged to get their own group launched in the community (preferably at different establishments to spread things out).
- Focus on meeting in restaurants/public spaces within a 3-mile radius of your church campus. If and when you build relationships with wait staff and patrons, you’ll be able to more easily connect them to your close-by church.
- Have the original group continue meeting together, maybe monthly, after the defined time period so as to coach and encourage one another over the groups each lead.
- Don’t over-program. Each group and where they meet will have their own unique dynamics. While centered in God’s Word, they’ll all look and operate differently. Simply look forward to seeing what encounters God brings to you and how He will use you and your group members for His mission to make disciples and reach the lost with the good news of Jesus Christ!