Overdoing the Soup

Our home group decided fellowship would be at the core, so it would always start with a meal. Rotas were made, plans were made and we began. It started well, everyone wanted to and could put time into creating a nice meal. It started simple with pizza and pasta but began to escalate and become more costly in time and money (especially as the group doubled in numbers). Pudding had gone from simple crumbles to stacks of homemade profiteroles.

we were not using our resources responsibly.

Don’t get me wrong, the food was lovely. But an unease grew; a few felt unable to keep up with the standard, people’s lives were becoming busier and the fluctuating group size meant we could be short of food or wasting it. We decided we were not using our resources responsibly.

So, a decision was made. Soup and rolls every week. The rota remained and people could choose to buy or make it. It began perfectly in the midst of winter with a homemade Mulligatawny soup followed by Heinz the next week. Everyone could contribute, people could be creative or run to the shops on the way and there was no waste. We had found the perfect solution.

Fast forward 18 months. It’s a warm summer evening. We are sat eating soup with the windows open. One member announces that she is bored of soup and will be cooking something else next week! A sigh of relief ran around the room. An end to the soup campaign!

We still have soup occasionally, but we’ve also had fajitas, lasagne, jacket potatoes and stews. We have had some lovely homemade puddings, but the bags of bought cookies are appreciated just as much. We like the variety. We appreciate the time and money that has gone into it…whether that was an afternoon cooking or squeezing a shopping trip into your lunch break.

A time of fellowship, sharing and provision.

The meal is no longer a competition, it is a time of fellowship, sharing and provision…exactly what it was always meant to be.

My Small Group has a job to do!

Small Groups in churches include far more than just Bible Study or Prayer groups. The PCC, groups that plan the children’s work together, the toddler group team, a group who meet to do the gardening or the cleaning are all great examples of small groups.

A holistic small group thinks of the whole person and their journey with God. They are interested in the spiritual, emotional and practical lives of each individual. As a group they care for one another, seek to connect with God and to draw others in.

This can seem like a big ask and time commitment to add, especially if your group has a specific task to do. But, there are small simple things we can do to transform these groups to be more holistic without taking more time and energy. It only takes one or two people in the group to be proactive in seeking a more holistic approach.

Every group will have conversations at some level. The question is how can we deepen those into strong relationships? A big part of it is extending the conversation beyond ‘How are you?’ it’s being interested in what people have to say and being willing to share back. It is also about following up on things that have been mentioned in the past mean people know that they are valued and the conversation can be developed and grown as needed over time. It sounds ridiculously simple, but the reality is that as trust is built so is depth.

Adding a faith aspect can seem a little more daunting if there currently isn’t any element of it within the group. It can be as simple as adding a short prayer time, a relevant Bible reading or a short personal reflection. A very gentle approach is to offer to pray when something comes up in conversation, either immediately or a promise to pray during the week.

You can use a gentle approach to deepen relationships and discuss spirituality. Prepare a question to share with the group that opens up our thinking. For example, ‘What are your gifts?’, ‘What are you thankful for?’, ‘Who or what influences your decisions?’. They do not require a faith answer but open opportunities for you to share honestly and for others to explore what is central to their lives.

There are many simple ways to build fellowship and discuss our faith based on the relationships that already exist. These small habits can transform a group to love each other more, to share about their beliefs and result in more passion for the task they do together.