One of the most important aspects of Small Group life is going from inward-focus (meeting every week) to outward-focus (moving the small group meeting out of your living room and into a service-oriented setting). This can be a challenge, as you navigate the stages and abilities of your group, and manage schedules.
In an effort to help your desire to serve rather than be served, I’ve compiled a list of possible outreach opportunities, both inside and outside the church. This list is by no means exhaustive, but is intended to get you started or inspire you to create your own outreach opportunity. These ideas are also great for families to do together!
HOLIDAY OUTREACH IDEAS FOR YOUR SMALL GROUP
- Ask your pastor if there is a widow or elderly person who needs help around their house.
- Rake leaves for the neighbor of a group member. Don’t ask first–just start doing it!
- On Halloween, set up a stand of hot chocolate or warm cider and give them out to the parents of trick-or-treaters. (as an extra, have church info on hand and invite them)
- Bake cookies for your local fire house or police station. Ask if you can meet with some of the officers, and then ask how you can pray for them.
- “Adopt” a missionary. Whenever you meet as a group, pray specifically for them. Send letters of encouragement and gifts (where appropriate) to remind them that they are on our hearts and minds as they serve.
- “Adopt” a college student (maybe a group member’s child or grandchild). Pray for them regularly and send care packages with food and encouraging Scripture. Invite them to your small group meeting when they are home, and have them share what’s been going on while they’ve been away.
- Provide a meal (either a financial contribution or preparing an actual meal) for the residents of a local Ronald McDonald house. Bless the families who are dealing with catastrophic illness in their family. Purpose to pray for them regularly.
- In the winter, be prepared to shovel for neighbors. This is a definite way to get the kids from your group into serving!
- Fill a basket with the ingredients necessary for a Thanksgiving meal. Look around your workplace or neighborhood for someone to give it to. ICC will provide the turkey and a Bible.
- Make shoeboxes for Samaritan Purse’s Operation Christmas Child. Have a little contest within your group to see how many boxes you can do, or simply put several together. If your group can’t get out to shop for the box contents, make a donation to cover the shipping cost of several boxes.
- At Christmas time, visit a local adult home, assisted living facility or nursing home. Contact the facility in advance and ask if there is a day or time that you can visit with the residents. Plan to sing carols with them, or do a simple craft (you provide what’s necessary). Allow time to sit and talk to those who are able.
- Lighthouse Mission has food outreaches 6 days a week. Volunteer with your group to serve at an outreach. Before food is distributed, a Gospel message is preached. Food for the soul and food for their stomachs–a win-win!
- Helping Hands Rescue Mission hosts a kids club regularly, along with celebrations for their local community during the holidays. Volunteer to help out where needed, either once or on a regular basis.
As you can see, there are many ways to serve our church family and our local community. In most cases, it just takes recognizing a need or wanting to bless those around us. If something on this list sparks your interest, don’t hesitate. Get your group on-board, and make it happen! We all have the ability to bring light and hope to those in our community.
-Cindy Compitiello, Small Groups Coordinator at Island Christian Church