Balancing Mission and Comfort—An Olympic Feat

The balance between outreach and in-reach in your small group is a delicate one to maintain.

Every four years during the summer Olympic Games, there is an event entitled simply, 'Balance Beam'. You are probably familiar with the event. The balance beam is a piece of wood that is 4 inches wide and 12 feet long. The beam is usually mounted on a support structure and stands 42 inches off the ground. The allure of watching this Olympic sport is the amazing and magical feats of balance the athletes display while performing their routine. The best athletes have trained themselves to the point where they look comfortable as they jump, twirl, and flip through the air on the narrow beam. The really outstanding performers do all this and "stick" their landing as the crowd roars its approval.

In a small group environment, there is a similar balancing act. The balancing act that every group should try to achieve is the exhortation from Christ to keep our eyes on the harvest fields (Matt. 9:36-38) and the goal to develop community in every group (see the New Commandment in John 13:34-35). "What's the big deal?" you may ask. This does not sound particularly tricky, but if you have led a group for any length of time, you know that balancing between outreach and in-reach requires the skills of an Olympian. In order to accomplish this feat, here are some pointers from a person who has fallen off the balance beam (of mission and comfort) more than a few times.

If your group is not a closed group (open to visitors), let us talk about some suggestions for developing mission. As your group is forming, make sure you cover the group covenant. The group covenant should include things like availability, commitment, confidentiality, multiplication, and outreach. Make sure group members know, upfront, that one of the purposes of the group ...

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