1. That you are PRAYING for them
I believe that one of the greatest things we can do for our small group members during this time is to pray for them. Reach out to each one of your members and ask them what you can specifically pray for. Doing this will communicate to your group members that you care for them and are willing to intercede for them to God.
Don’t just reach out to all of them at once in a group text or email, as it is likely that they will not respond. But a personalized text or email to each individual group member will yield greater response and will be more meaningful to your members.
2. To reach out if they have a NEED
Let your group members know that if they have a need to let you or the group know. Just knowing that there is a leader or a group of people who are willing to help when there is a need during this time, is a great comfort to most. Just make sure your group IS willing to fill a need when it arises. Also, your church as a whole might be able to assist if your group cannot meet the need. Certainly, praying for someone that has a need is where you should start, but also realize that you and your group will most likely be the answer to that prayer.
3. To be honest if ANXIETY is overtaking them
During these COVID-19 times, anxiety is peaking for many people, even Christians. We need to let our group members know that it is “okay not to be okay”. They need to feel comfortable approaching you or your group and voice their worry or anxiety. Certainly, Scripture can bring comfort and faith during these times and should be shared and studied, but there may be some that will need more focused attention. In this case, as group leaders, we need to be in sync with our church pastors and protocol and be able to direct our members to other resources if anxiety is overtaking them. Know when to direct them to your Pastor, a counselor or a suicide hotline if needed.
4. To stay CONNECTED to the church through its livestream services
Small groups are an extension of the church large group gathering. If your church is live streaming services, encourage your small group members to watch and grow through the teaching and preaching of the Word. Encourage your group members to tune into the main worship services with everyone else at the time of the service. Though we cannot be together physically, we can be together in Spirit! Also, this enables your group members to stay connected and informed on what is going on at your church and be encouraged and challenged by the messages from your pastors.
5. To stay on MISSION
It is easy to fall into a ‘woe is me’ attitude or perspective during this time in history. We can get discouraged and weary with the isolation, masks, and Zoom meetings! But we must remember that no matter what is going on in the world, we as believers in Jesus Christ have a mission! We are to make disciples that make disciples! What an opportunity to take this current crisis and use it to further God’s Kingdom in a creative way! Encourage your members to continue being discipled and discipling others to Jesus. Don’t grow weary in well doing! Our work is not in vain!
6. That our HOPE isn’t in this life only
1 Corinthians 15:19-22 tells us that if our hope was only in this life, we should be pitied and miserable! But because Jesus DID rise from the dead, we have a future Hope that awaits us, our inheritance from our Father in Heaven. Because of this future Hope, we have a present hope and a life worth living even in these difficult times. Our better life is ahead for all eternity. Remind your group members that “this world is not my home, I’m just a-passin through”.
7. That God is building something SPECIAL
1 Peter 2:5 says that we are “lively stones” connected to the Chief Cornerstone, Jesus Christ. It goes on to say that God is using us to build up a spiritual house. God is connecting together all of us lively stones (Christians) to build something special, His Kingdom! As we all stay aligned to the Chief Cornerstone and connected together, God will use us to make an impact in this world!
Keep building community, connection and discipleship with your online groups! COVID-19 can’t stop God’s building project! God is building something special with us and in small group ministry through this unusual time!