Service Homework

Assign outreach as your next small group homework.

I have often debated quietly amongst myself the matter of small group homework. As a small group leader I put in many hours each week preparing a lesson and pastoring those in my group with encouraging notes, emails, hospital visits, an occasional lunch date and prayer. This is what I love to do and I am committed to the sacrifice of time and energy. But what about the members of my small group? Their time is valuable and most have jobs, families and commitments that vie for their attention. Each week I strive to offer them a place to belong and a place to grow. Those two hours become a sanctuary set apart from the rush of living and allow each person time to worship, to learn, to pray, to fellowship. I've always designed my lessons to accommodate those new to the group or those who didn't get a chance to read the chapter of our current book or section of Scripture. But, I've never given homework … until now.

The often forgotten small group dimension, outreach, has been knocking at the door of my heart this past year. I've specifically been challenged by Steve Sjogren's book 'Conspiracy of Kindness.' Reading this book stirred my soul. I was challenged to embrace the lifestyle of showing a watching world the gospel of Jesus Christ through servant evangelism.

My small group read this book two summers ago. Our meeting times were spent out in the community putting what we had learned to the test. We washed windshields, returned empty garbage cans, handed out cold cans of pop to construction workers, inserted quarters at the Laundromat, and cleaned public toilets. Then we would gather back together to enjoy refreshments and share our experiences. Without exception the reports were filled with excitement and awe at the response ...

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