I have just returned from a mission trip with a team of five people from our state. It was one of the most rewarding and effective mission efforts that I have ever participated. I’m convinced that one of the primary reasons it was not only effective, but very enjoyable was because of the group chemistry of our team. We faced some surprises and challenges on the trip. Although each of us had specific responsibilities on the trip, each team member pitched in and did whatever was necessary to help us accomplish our mission. As we shared with each other on the 15 hour plane trip home (we had plenty of time to share!), I realized… we were better together than any of us would have been alone.
A vital aspect of a small group or Sunday School class is the need to belong. In his breakthrough research, Abraham Maslow revealed that human beings have some basic needs that we all yearn for… and right there at the top of the list is the need to belong. God knew about our need to be in community long before Maslow proposed it, God created us with this need.
All people are designed for community, both those in and out of church. Community is one of the biggest attractions to Christianity. Not only do we get to be in community with other believers, we have the incredible opportunity to be in community with the Creator of the universe! In addition, we get to belong to a group of people who do not meet over trivial pursuits. Your group should be on mission together. Belonging to a group is great, belonging to a group on mission is even better!
This month at sundayschoolleader.com, we are focusing on the various aspects of group life that are essential to a healthy small group or class. You are going to get ideas of how to improve your group’s community through fellowship, ministry, prayer, and friendship. We are even going to talk about the link between belonging and that old-fashioned word “enrollment”.
While you’re here, why not take a few moments and evaluate how well the people in your group are connecting to one another. Here are a few questions to ask of your group:
- Do the people in your group know each others’ names?
- Do the people in your group know the names of each other’s children?
- Who in your group needs fellowship? … a friend?
- Who has not attended a group meeting in the last six weeks? Have they been contacted and ministered to?
- Does your group have an intentional plan to help people connect with others in the group, and… does your group know the plan!
Bob Mayfield is the Sunday School/Adult Discipleship specialist for the Baptist General
Convention of Oklahoma. Bob also writes at his own blog at www.bobmayfield.com