I noticed, out loud, how loving and accepting she was. I affirmed her for what she was doing. She heard the women who lived in the shelter talking about their faith. She saw their struggles. Her heart was moved with compassion. She's now in our Bible study, earnestly seeking God, reading the Bible for the first time in her life. For her, the service project was an "on-ramp" into the group.
Take Time to Debrief
Ask group members to talk about what they're learning from serving. Are they feeling guilt or gratitude for their own privilege? Let them process. Then, push them to go deeper. How does their affluence isolate them, for example? How do the poor have to trust God more than the well-off? Allow the group to wrestle with the feelings and questions that come up.
Service projects, especially ongoing ones, will help your group bond, and help individual members to grow in their faith. Perhaps this is the next step your group needs to take.
—Keri Wyatt Kent is a small-group leader, speaker, and the author of seven books, including Simple Compassion (Zondervan). Learn more at www.keriwyattkent.com. Copyright 2009 by the author and Christianity Today International.
- What was my most recent experience with someone who could be considered "poor"?
- When would be a good time for our group to pray about serving together? What steps can I take to make that happen?
- Who are some people outside of our group that might like to join us in a service project?