- It gives group members (especially the quiet ones) a chance for more prolonged and meaningful conversations.
- It begins developing potential leaders for future groups.
- It allows your group to keep adding members while ensuring that individuals talk and are heard during discussion times. You may even end up forming a new small group.
Give group members time to practice sharing their testimony with each other. Commit an entire evening to this or set aside time each week for one person to share a five-minute testimony so group members can practice sharing how Christ has changed their life. It is important to share these stories not only with seekers but also with other Christians to encourage them as they share their stories with others.
Remind and renew the vision regularly. It’s very easy for evangelism to be put aside, reducing group life down to Bible study, fellowship, and occasionally prayer. So as a leader, you have to be the one who continually brings the focus back to the value of evangelism. Ask your group, “Who are we reaching?” “Who are we praying for?” “How are you doing at sharing your faith?” “Can you share your faith?” It’s very important to review the answers to these questions on a regular basis.
One person. Ask group members to contact one seeker they know and have been praying for and invite him or her to dinner or perhaps just have coffee together. The idea is to move beyond praying for them and begin to intentionally build the relationship. If the person lives too far away to meet in person, consider a long phone call or, even better, use Skype (a free internet service that allows you to use your computer to make calls with video). Ask group members to share the results at the next meeting.
Fill a need. Sometimes actions speak louder than words. Challenge group members to think about the seekers they know and then identify and fulfill a need for those people. Perhaps someone could use some help every now and then with childcare, or shoveling the snow from the driveway, or raking the leaves. The idea is to serve that person and show the love of Jesus in a practical manner.
Top Ten list. Encourage members to always have a Top Ten list of seekers they are praying for. As those seekers make commitments to Christ, be sure to add new people to the list. Challenge group members to take a few moments each day and pray for the people on their Top Ten list. Suggest times that will be conducive to forming this habit, such as upon waking in the morning, before going to bed, or right before dinner.
Prayer walks around the neighborhood. Literally take the next step and as you walk around your neighborhood, pray for your neighbors as you pass their homes. If you see someone outside, be sure to wave or stop for a few minutes and chat.
Offer prayer. Ask group members to commit to asking neighbors for prayer requests. It is not difficult to simply ask, “Is there anything I can pray about for you?” at the end of a conversation. People rarely refuse prayer. At the least, this shows your neighbors that you genuinely care about them. Follow up with the neighbors so they know you are actually praying and not just paying lip service.
Steve Gladen and John Ortberg, Leading Small Groups with Purpose: Everything You Need to Lead a Healthy Group (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2012).