community group page
Why I Hate Small Group Mission Projects
by Alan Danielson on churchleaders.com
Yes, I used strong language in the title of this post. No, I don’t hate missional small groups. What I hate are small group mission projects. Why? Because they’re PROJECTS.
What’s a project? It’s a short-term activity designed to accomplish a goal. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with a small group mission project; after all, they serve people who are in need. However, they tend to have a tragic side effect: a sense of being “done.”
Are people meant to be projects? Are people meant to be goals? Is mission ever truly “done”? No, no, and uh…NO!
When small groups do mission projects, they can easily miss the point of mission: relationship. Jesus didn’t die for projects or goals. He died so people could experience relationship with God. When done right, mission not only offers people a relationship with God, but it also creates relationships between those on mission and those being served.
Seldom will a person become a Christ-follower because a group of people mowed their lawn once. Seldom will someone choose to surrender to Christ because someone painted their fence one weekend. Most people will follow Jesus because they saw Christ’s love being lived out over time by people they know.
If your small group is going to be on mission, try not to just identify projects. Try instead to identify people you can get to know. Serve them, love them, help them, do life with them.
Sounds a lot riskier than just mowing a lawn doesn’t it? You’re right. It is risky. Jesus took the greatest risk of all by dying for our sins; I think we can risk the messiness of relationships with unpredictable people. The sterile nature of “projects” is just not risky enough for my taste.
Okay, my rant is done…but our mission is not.
community group tenets:
Check out Saddleback Church's Covenant for Small Groups. It is very similar to our process of developing Group Tenets:
As a group, we agree to the following disciplines:
To give priority to the group meeting. Call when absent or late.
To help create a safe place where people can be heard. No quick answers or judgments.
To keep anything that is shared strictly confidential. What’s said in group, stays in group.
To give permission to group members to hold you accountable to the goals you set for yourself.
To keep the door open to others in our church (unconnected and unchurched people) who need what we have.
To rotate hosting responsibilities for the meeting.
To take an active role in the responsibilities of this small group.