In addition to Tier 1 physical needs, there are also Tier 2 relational needs and Tier 3 family needs. This means churches can provide bunk beds, mentors, parenting classes and everything in between.
My favorite part of this technology is that it removes the government as mediator in the face to face interactions with the afflicted families. It allows real people, from real churches, making real sacrifices to connect with the family and introduce them to Jesus. The family then has a connection in the community with real people they can call upon in the future if another need arises.
Here is where we, as small-group pastors and leaders, come in. What if our small groups all registered with the Care Portal or a similar service? What if we truly became the missional communities we proclaim to be and started meeting the needs of those that live two streets down from us? What if we were eager to bring the light of Jesus into difficult situations instead of expecting someone else to get their hands messy while we gather down the street for a nice potluck dinner?
What if we invited that hurting family to our group, started bringing them meals, prayed for them when we delivered the crib they requested? What if we started mentoring their children, or going with them to court appearances, or connected them with our Celebrate Recovery classes? What if our small groups stopped playing church and actually became the hands and feet of Jesus?
Small Groups on Mission Together
"He called his twelve disciples together and began sending them out two by two, giving them authority to cast out evil spirits." —Mark 6:7
"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me." —Matthew 25:35
"What good is it, my bothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." —James 2:14-17
There's no shortage of verses in the Word that exhort the church to serve those around us, especially the marginalized and downtrodden. We're to pull the lost out of the fringe of society into our communities of grace, love, and acceptance by serving them sacrificially. Whether we engage at the macro or micro level, our small groups should be a vital part of reaching our cities with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our groups were not made to take the gospel to the ends of our tables or living rooms, but to the ends of the earth. God didn't send his son only for the people who end up walking into our buildings, but for the sick and the afflicted and the ones who believe they'll never be good enough.
I'll leave you with my favorite verse, one that keeps me motivated when leading servant leaders gets tough and messy: "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching" (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Do not get discouraged in your good works, faithful servants. Point your small groups outward and be motivated by the city transformation that is sure to follow!
—Amber Day is the City Groups Director at City Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Check out these 5 resources you can use with your group to make a local and global impact.