Archive for ministry

The Work (Involve the Guest in Group Ministry)

Nothing makes someone feel more a part of a group than being involved in shared experiences.  Ministering to others should be part of your group’s mission, but a great byproduct is helping a guest feel more connected.  Make sure the guest is aware of opportunities to serve and all the details.  Have a member offer to drive the guest to the ministry location or offer to meet them at a specific spot.

Ask staff members what needs there may be in the church.  Your group could organize, restock, and refurbish a Children’s Resource Room or other Children’s Space.  You could help with Senior Adult Ministry or offer child-care for a Young Adult Event.  Have your members make cards that can be used in multiple ministries.

Look outside the church for ways to minister as well. Is there a local food bank where you could go to help pack boxes or an Assisted Living Home where you could go to sing hymns, play games, or just sit and talk with the residents?  Find homeless shelters and offer to minister or talk with a local high school and offer to work the concession stand so that parents can watch their own children play at athletic events.  Offer to build wheel-chair ramps to those who may suddenly need them.

Simply gathering items to be given to a ministry doesn’t help a guest be a part of a shared experience so be sure you’re truly ministering and not just “gathering” items so that someone else can minister. Use the ministry as an opportunity to have gospel conversations with those you encounter.

Jenni Carter is a State Missionary at the Georgia Baptist Mission Board.

Mission Projects for Your Group

commhelpWHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? Groups have a tendency to become inwardly focused, and to prevent that it is important that we stay focused on the mission.  Jesus said to the disciples, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16 (ESV)

We know the importance of studying the Bible together, praying for one another and fellowship, but we must never let the group forget our mission: to be a light and tell others about the Good News of Jesus! (Matthew 28:19-20).

WHAT DO I DO? Meet together as a group and decide what you want to do, and then begin to make plans. Here are a few ideas for group mission projects:

  • Help neighbors with some work around their homes.
  • Clean up a neighborhood park.
  • Have a Backyard Bible Club.
  • Volunteer at a local shelter or soup kitchen.
  • Work with a local school.

Jesus said we are to let our light shine, and we do that by being out in the community and serving others. Be the light that shines for Jesus!

4 Mistakes to Avoid When Ministering to Members

WHY IS THIhighexpectationsS IMPORTANT? When a group takes care of those within the group, they can be a great blessing to the Lord and their church. A mother was diagnosed with cancer. She had two school-age children, and she and her husband both worked to make ends meet. Over a three-month period, their group dug in to help the family through this difficult time. First there were visits and then a call for group members to bring food every night. As the family burden increased, the group developed a plan to take the kids to school, pick them up, and drop them at the house when dad got home from work. The group even helped with the family’s house payment. The mom survived her bout with cancer, and the entire group was forever changed because of the experience.

WHAT DO I DO? Not every ministry experience tracks well. Here are a few mistakes to avoid:

  • Assuming someone else will do it – A group failed to visit a member who had lost her mother because everyone thought some knew her better and would make the contact. Ultimately no one made the contact and the woman left the group and church hurt.
  • Being unclear on expectations – Sometimes we ask for volunteers and fail to make ministry expectations clear. Or the person we are helping expresses a need and we misunderstand.
  • Not listening – Often we are too busy doing the ministry to listen. Many times the best ministry is just listening.
  • Poor communication – Sometimes we drop the ball because we do not communicate well.

 

4 Responses When Pain Interrupts Your Group

cryingThe Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18 NIV)

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? What do you do when pain interrupts your group? When no subject is off limits and a group shows genuine care and vulnerability (which you should), pain will come out in the middle of group time.

WHAT DO I DO? How do you handle it? Here are some thoughts:

  1. Listen to what is said and not said. This requires attentiveness. Some will tell what is going on in their lives. Take time to listen and show empathy. Empathize with persons in pain. We all experience pain in life. After listening, decide on next steps: Prayer for the person. Who else needs to know–with permission? Care in the moment and beyond. Perhaps a person is tearing up and not talking. Take time after class to talk or set up a time to talk.
  2. Use Care Group Leaders to help you care during the week. A teacher cannot do it all. I recommend care groups, much like a deacon family ministry plan.
  3. Have an active prayer chain/prayer ministry. Pain happens during the week as well. Ask Care Leaders to contact you, and have them contact people on their list to pray for those in pain.
  4. Empower people in pain to find the resources they need. Some people can develop a co-dependency to your care. Help them discover strength within themselves by referring them to professional counselors for long term recovery. Certain types of pain need therapy. Don’t try to handle them on your own. Ask your Pastor for referrals that would be helpful.

Pain happens to all of us. Be prepared to help the brokenhearted and those crushed in spirit.

5 Primary Tasks of the Member Care Leader

getwellWHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? A Sunday School class is a multifunctional group of people, and one of those functions is caring for members.  Group members need someone to lead them to care, meet needs, and provide support during difficult times.  My hope is that your class has a Member Care Leader or someone leading those functions.

WHAT DO I DO? It is important for the Member Care Leader to organize the group to meet practical needs when they arise. Lead the group to…

  • Contact regularly members to discover prayer needs and communicate those needs to the group.
  • Prepare meals during a time of illness, crisis, or  celebration–such as a birth of a child.
  • Send birthday cards to the group members.  A card can be encouragement
  • Send handwritten notes when someone is going through as challenging times (ex. separation/divorce, financial crisis, family crisis, loss of job, etc.). Email and text are great, but a handwritten note is more personal
  • Send flowers, sympathy cards, or get well cards–as appropriate–on the occasion of the death of a family member (ex. Grandparents, Spouse, Parents, siblings, child,  aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, nieces) or for a surgery or hospital stay.

By leading them to care for each other, group members will learn how to extend the ministry of care as well.

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Jonathan Jordan has been a State Missionary with the Georgia Baptist Mission Board since January 2010 and joined Groups and Faith Development in March 2013. Jonathan’s responsibilities small groups support, college and single adult ministry, web and social media, video training and event coordination.