I've heard the stories of the groups that serve meals to the homeless in the inner-city shelter, those that refurbish a house for a single parent, or the group that travels together to eastern Europe to work in a church located in an area that was once part of the former Soviet state.
These are great experiences and wonderful opportunities for groups and people to share in ministry. If only every small group that is currently meeting could perform ministry like that as part of their relationship together!
But more usual opportunities for the average small congregation with small groups in service for each other and in their community are much different and just as critically important.
One group gathered after a storm to collect food for workers and help clean up the damage. One group is mobilized with clothes, food, child care, finances, support, etc. each time something comes up within their circle of contacts that they might help with. One group organized several from the group to help paint some rooms at the church building.
Service is a natural outpouring of the group in growth and in Christ, as they have learned their giftedness, grown in their understanding of how God has blessed them, and together have learned the great benefit of working together as a group.
But in all honesty, service in groups is also one of those aspects of group life that needs to start intentionally. While some will spontaneously develop a serving spirit, others need to be rousted from the "group-focused" attitude and renewed in the joy of serving.
Let me explain. Many groups as they start and grow are internally focused as the group gets to know each other and stretch their wings some in relationship. As those relationships grow, there needs ...