As groups point people,we all have grand visions and hopes for what happens in those groups; things like accountability, service, knowledge, community and transparency. We even have tools to get those results, including Bible study, sermon discussions, video content, service projects, and prayer times.While all of these tools are clearly important, sometimes we forget one of the most powerful community-boosting tools we have: the party.
Fun comes in many different forms, from board games to a softball league to a BBQ pool party. Getting invited to something special, laughing so hard you can’t breathe, escaping from the grind of everyday life with friends – that kind of fun makes a difference in people’s lives and relationships, and it’s more important than most of us realize.
Here are three reasons our groups need to party hard this year:
Jesus taught us to throw parties in a way that help the outcast belong.
Jesus teaches us in Luke 14 that we should party with those who CAN’T pay us back, because he knows that being INVITED to something special makes someone feel like they belong. And he doesn’t say to invite them to the synagogue, a Torah study, or one-on-one mentoring and accountability meetings. He says to invite them to a party. Why? Because parties are for friends. Inviting people to a party is inviting them to be a friend; that’s where community starts to flourish.
Parties can connect “spiritual life” and “normal life,” which teaches us that God cares about our whole lives.
As people are finding Jesus, God is infiltrating areas of their lives that previously felt untouched by grace and goodness. That’s where the division between “normal life” and “spiritual life” begins.
Work 9-5 is normal life. Church on Sunday is spiritual life.
Tuesday night “out for drinks” is normal life. Wednesday night “small group” is spiritual life.
>>> Discipleship is a process where God infiltrates the untouched areas of our lives so that we can see the real truth: that God wants all of us, not just parts of us.
Your leaders and hosts can help people bridge the gap between normal and spiritual life by just having fun together. When we bring spiritual friendships into people’s “normal lives,” it lays a groundwork for people to see that all of life is meant to be lived for and with Jesus.
Fun sets the groundwork for long-term trust and partnership.
Chemistry matters for long-term spiritual friendships, and fun draws out chemistry in a profound way. Whether it’s making sure to have something fun each week to start group, or just regular gatherings where fun is the only stated goal, encourage leaders and hosts to draw out their people’s “fun sides” regularly so that they can they can get to know each other in a real, holistic way.
By focusing on having some fun, your group leaders and hosts can help their people see how interested God is in their whole lives and their real selves. Don’t miss the chance this year to encourage your leaders and hosts to throw GREAT parties.