One of the ways we’ve made Outreach a part of our DNA from the very beginning was through Small Groups. When it comes to building community with Small Groups there is nothing like being able to serve together as a group and hopefully bring other people with you on that journey.
Every semester Crosspoint Small Groups head up a couple of outreach projects and at each of those projects we’ll have some folks who are unconnected take part as well. Here’s a Top 5 on the best ways to maximize small group outreach projects as a small group facilitator:
1. Be an inviter – Your small group should never be exclusive, so these projects are another way to invite people to be a part of your group who might not have felt comfortable at someone else’s home at first. Outreach projects at the part are typically a great first time invite. (see BONUS down at the bottom)
2. Recognize the first timers – Before you begin, find out who has never participated in this type of project before. Don’t think that just because you have drop off donuts a few times before that everyone knows how to do it or how to even explain what they are doing with others. Thank the folks who are there for the first time and share instructions with everyone to put them at ease.
3. Contact AND Follow-Up – This is simple, a phone call reminder the day before and a thank you call the day after will go a long, long way!
4. Celebrate successes and admit failures – Take some time during your small group meetings to share the successes you have had serving others, it will help folks look forward to their time of serving. And while you’re at it, let them know about some of the failures you’ve had. Some reason hearing that you’ve already received some “no thank you’s” or “get outta heres!” will help put people at ease.
5. Debrief – Talk about your time of serving. Let people share their own stories, how they felt, and what they were thinking. It’s also a great opportunity to share some vision about why we do what we do.
BONUS: Make a day of it! – Outreach doesn’t have to just be an “In and Out” experience. Take the opportunity to serve and play with your Small Group. Some of the best experiences as a community come when you spend some time serving the park that you will later hang out in. So hand out some waters, and then huddle up under a pavilion for a group picnic.
This isn’t a top 5 about guaranteed results, this is all about making the experience a memorable and life-changing event not just for those who get served, but also for those who are serving!