Loving Beyond Barriers

Ways you can extend the hand of fellowship beyond the perimeter of your group.

A small group encourages members to share with each other on an intimate level, which is good. Yet there is a danger that isolation may result. By focusing on each others' needs, group members may become detached from the body of the church.

The following ideas suggest ways you can extend the hand of fellowship beyond the perimeter of your group:

  • Bring in a special speaker and invite other groups to be your guests. Plan refreshments and a social time afterward.

  • Recruit each group member to become a big brother or sister to children in the church who live with single parents.

  • Combine forces with another group to work on a community project.

  • During one month, ask each person to visit a shut-in within the congregation. A planned schedule based on location and need will increase the effectiveness of the project. After the visit, members should write out a prayer request on behalf of the shut-in. These can be shared at a specified meeting.

  • Invite members of the youth group to perform a skit for your group. Serve them a spaghetti dinner afterward.

Especially when hard work is required, unanimous support of members will foster success of whatever goal you undertake.

Ironically, conflicts within the congregation offer a great opportunity to build bridges between persons with different interests or tastes. A gesture that says, "Although we disagree, we still care about you," provides healing to both sides.

As groups clash over divisive issues, action can be taken to ease the tension and restore harmony. How would the following actions change the climate in typical conflicts?

  • A group of young adults lobby for a more contemporary style of worship. Nevertheless, the group takes up an offering to contribute toward the purchase of a new organ.

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