At Northeast Christian Church, where I serve as Small Groups Pastor, we have a variety of types of groups. One popular type is the neighborhood group. They are an important strategy in our plan to reach out to our community and to shepherd our people in community. I sat down and discussed neighborhood groups with one of our leaders, Katie Haller.
MM: How did you get your neighborhood group started?
KH: Originally, I had started a group with some friends from church. We did not live close to each other. The group soon fizzled. I was praying and pondering what to do next when God hit me over the head with my neighborhood! Several of us were already forming friendships, so I just asked if they would be interested in being in a Life Group together. It began with a core of 3 families (including ours). Others joined later. We already had been getting together socially, so we started with a study that was directed at getting to know who we are in Jesus.
How would you describe the community you have in your group?
The community we have in our group closely resembles the community in the New Testament. We are extended family—even closer to each other than our biological families. Ironically, when any biological family come into town, group members are right there in the mix. We take care of each other. We practice the many "daily" activities found in the New Testament. You just cannot experience all of those daily activities with people who do not live in close proximity. We also help others in need financially, in service, and in prayer.
What are some other differences or distinctives you have noticed between a neighborhood group and other types of small groups?
The word that comes to mind as a huge difference is commonality. ...