One of the most powerful ideas popping up in conversations with churches like The Austin Stone and Community Christian has to do with developing a rhythm in group meeting patterns. For instance, small groups (or missional communities) meeting every week with a pattern of two weeks a month doing what normal small groups do (fellowship, study, prayer, etc.) , one meeting to focus on reaching out to those far from God and one meeting a month to be a blessing to those who have physical needs (food, clothing, etc.).
Sounds interesting, right? The question many will have is how will the groups come up with ideas for the two weeks they’re not doing the normal thing?
How can you help your groups figure out things to do to reach out to those who are far from God? Well, you could order bullhorns and a lifetime supply of gospel tracts. Or…you could order a few copies of Steve Sjogren’s, 101 Ways to Reach Your Community. Published by NavPress, this little book can have big impact!
If you’re not familiar with Sjogren, he’s the founding pastor of Vineyard Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. He’s also the author of Conspiracy of Kindness, the very popular book that introduced many to the idea of servant evangelism.
In 101 Ways to Reach Your Community, Sjogren assembles a kind of cook book for servant evangelism recipes. Well organized, there are projects that fit three categories:
- Blitzing (“designed to touch a lot of people in a short time”)
- Connecting (“providing opportunities for interaction”) and,
- Investing (“aimed at encountering people at the more difficult stress points of their lives”).
Each of the 101 projects range in difficulty from soft-drink giveways and trash pickup to school supplies for needy families and shopping assistance for shut-ins. There’s enough here to keep groups going for a long time and there might not be a better way to help groups generate the kinds of stories they’ll tell for the rest of their lives.
101 Ways to Reach Your Community ought to be on all of our desks right now as we plan ways that our small group ministries can truly have community impact.