This is part of a series about what it would look like to embed the small group values (what we call cell groups) that Springfield believe in within our groups. How would we know that we were living them out?
One of the key values that drives us is that of Creating Community. Community is often in short supply around the country. Many live isolated and lonely existences. There have been shocking stories such as the story of the 38 year old Joyce Carol Vincent who was found dead three years after she died with the TV still on.
So, what can we do to try and ensure that we build real community? Communities that are caring and real?
Well there are a number of things that we can do – both at the overall church level and the small group level.
One of the things that we are trying not to be is a mega-church (I’m sure we won’t find it too hard not to be!!). I fear that it is too easy to in a large church to miss people and overlook them. One of the reasons that we launched our Springfield@Roundshaw congregation was that we were growing and we didn’t want people to get lost or overlooked (of course, that can always happen and people also need to play their part but we can try and ensure that we don’t just focus on size).
The second thing that we can do at all levels is teach and try and show by our actions that people come before task. One of the key lessons that we have been learning as a church is that people come first. We have found more and more in all sorts of way that we can so focus on the task of an event or a ministry that the people come second. This is a continual battle with ourselves because we want things to be done well – naffness is, well, just naff. But all we do has to be seen in the context of making space to build relationships.
The core of how we do this at Springfield is in our small groups (called cell groups). Our small groups are the places where we can practise being invitational and build real deep community. In a recent cell leaders meeting they brainstormed some of the ways that they would know that this was happening. Some of these included some great ideas to grow together as a group, deepening their community:
- Keeping up with one another through email/text/facebook
- Having a prayer chain for the cell so that people can be prayed for about situations in their lives
- Going out for meals or a coffee together
- Individuals getting together informally/ ringing one another up etc.
- Making meals or shopping for people whoa re isolated or unwell
- Regular cell socials/outreaches to which you invite friends/neighbours/ family to
- Helping at Church Welcome Lunches to get to know new people
- Inviting people to Sunday lunch
- Going to New Wine together, building deeper community by camping together
Any other great ways that people have of building community?
Other Posts in this series: