Politics, Politics, Politics, Politics.... (it's good to be the king)
Politics, Religion, Business, Education, You name it.... they all require a little bit of the same thing....
Planning and preparation!
In a small (or large) group meeting this is no different, and above all there should be some form of organization to the meeting.
Organizing.... My own personal nemesis. (and no I am not referring to the worst NextGen Star-Trek movie to ever meet the populous, or to the fact that it was one big metophor for dealing with your biggest enemy which is yourself (sun tsu anyone?) or the fact that by the end Piccard looked like a winey sissy girl who needed to be stripped of any remaining "Man Card" in his posession.... but I digress)
I have always struggled being organized. I used to think that I could make it without being organized and God would make up for the rest.... THEN I got Married! Being organized, planning and being prepared is now something I really wish I was better at (for many reasons) BUT One thing I had picked up along the way leading small groups was a sure fire method for having a successfull, healthy meeting wherever you are.... it is..... are you ready for this???
The 5 W's of Small Group Meetings!
The 5 w's, I believe, started out as 4, and I have learned and embellished along the way. This principle originally came from some small group leadership training I had done under the vision and teachings of Ralph Neighbor (sp?) back in the big cell church boom of the late 90's.
The 5 W's are simply this...
I will expound on each of these over the next few posts (which MAY happen before the end of the year.... keep your fingers crossed )
In all my time traveling doing ministry in various places across the globe, I have determined this...
The Southern Baptist Denomination wins this category HANDS Down!!!!
I have been to many churches in many places, and it seems like going to a southern baptist church would ensure 2 things... 1. we would be hugged till we suffocated, and 2. we would be fed till we popped!!! (Good times!)
Nothing, I REPEAT NOTHING says we are family, or I accept you like a home cooked meal and genuine hospitality. It communicates that WE in fact are in this together, and as such we can help each other out in the process.
Why is this so important?
When you have a group of people coming to your house to share and open up in any way they need to know they can trust you and this is a safe warm and inviting place where they can do just that. Yes I know it sounds a bit psychological, partly because it is.... but more than that it speaks to a bigger truth that a lot of leaders miss...
The PHYSICAL needs in life are just as real and sometimes just as important as the spiritual ones. Remember the story of when jesus fed the 5000??? Not just a story but a practical guide to performing ministry to the masses...... Meet the physical needs and they will be open and receptive to have the spiritual needs met as well.
It is very crucial at this point that I say, this is NOT about having to make a full meal every week. More importantly is that there is some type of food/snack/drink as a point of contact to develop a time of relationship that is spontanious and allows for the natural relationships, and trust, to be formed.
What does this look like??
Open up your house 15/20 min's before the meeting starts. have some finger type foods available for people to snack on, and when people show up, be there to engage in conversation and be available to listen....
This is why planning and preparation are so important!!! You need to have your family needs taken care of before this point. YOU the leader are their shepheard and need to give them your attention and be available.
I have been to a few meetings where I didn't even see the leader until it was time for them to share, and by that time, I wasn't listening to them.... why would I?? looks to me like they are above and better than me and have the "Answer" .... which to me says they really don't get it at all!!!
On a bit of a practical note, I know as a leader that if you are trying to feed a group of people every week (even if it is just a bag of freetos) It can get expensive..... So Share the wealth!!! Make up a "Food" rotation that everyone can sign-up for....
Remember we really are all in this together!!!!