What are the essential shepherding “Routines” for a health group?
When you are the group leader/facilitator/teacher you have some very important responsibilities. The primary roles you have are to give attention to the spiritual nurture and growth of those in your group. It is best when the group leader has a team of leaders around them to help with the shepherding of the group. This has been classically called care group leader, prayer leader, social leader and outreach leader. This group organization will determine your routine for the shepherding concerns of your group.
If you have an organization, a team with whom to share these responsibilities, then your “routine” will be to oversee the ministry that your team performs. If you do not have a team, then you are the one who will need a “routine” to take care of the shepherding of your group. So what is involved in this “routine?”
Each week the group leader should address these three areas. It is essential to develop a “routine” or a way for those in your group to communicate to the group when they have a need. They need prayer. They had a death in their family. They are having surgery this week. The new baby is here. Set up a process so that the group members know how and who to contact in case there is a need.
Care – A good caring group will make regular (weekly preferred) contact with a designated group within the larger group. This “routine” acts as a way to identify needs, those who have missed attending the group recently and it helps build relationships as people talk with each other through the contacts. Create a “routine” for new people to be assimilated into the group so that they not only are accepted, but so that they make friends.
Pray – A “routine” in a healthy group will have people praying for each other. This can take place by creating a regular prayer list of group needs. Print and hand it out during the group. Email the list to each group member. Design a group web page and put prayer needs on the site (password protected).
Play – A healthy group has the ability to play together, to have fun with each other which helps them feel closer to each other. Having a “routine” group party/fellowship is an essential way for the group to learn about each other, to identify common life points and interests.
“Routine” does not mean dry and boring. It means a regular, strategic way of doing things so that you make sure the shepherding, nurturing, pastoral care, relational aspects of the group are not only being met, but that they are flourishing.