Today's activity – Write your group's story on a sheet of paper. Tomorrow, ask your class to share their favorite group story.
What is your group's story? Your story is what someone in your group shares with a co-worker, neighbor, or friend when they ask about their class. It goes something like this: "Bill, I see you driving off in nice clothes every Sunday. Are you going to Sunday School or something?" Bill – "Yeah, you know some day you ought to come to our Bible study group." Jim – "What do you do in your group?" Bill – "Uhmm, well we share a little, and pray, and study our Bible." Jim – "I'm golfing Sunday!"
The story a person in your group shares with someone is very revealing about their perception of the value of the group. A basic story like the one shared above does not reveal a lot of passion about the group, and Jim can detect it. People are drawn to passion, and put off by apathy or a non-committal response.
At your next meeting, ask some people to share their favorite story. Another way to ask this question might be for them to share their most meaningful group story. Listen carefully to the stories shared. Do the stories shared occur in the classroom? Are the stories centered around parties and fellowships? How about stories related to spiritual transformation? A meaningful moment helping a family in crisis? A class mission trip?
Compare the difference between the conversation between Bill and Jim, with this answer from Bill: "Jim, our group studies God's word together. I got some great insight from last week's study that has helped me with a problem I had at work. And you know, this Saturday a group of us guys are going to someone's house who needs some help and install a hot water heater for them. Wanna come?"
In their book Essential Church, Thom and Sam Rainer state that a major reason for many people to remain unchurched is that they do not view the church as being essential. The answers your group shares as their favorite story is very revealing about how essential the group really is.