Purpose is the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s needs.”
~ Frederick Buechner
If you ask your small group members what the purpose of their group is, how many different answers would you get?
How close would their answers be to the actual purpose of the group?
Is there a written purpose that your small group developed that has buy-in from each member?
There is a purpose God wants your small group to pursue that will help people in this world who desperately need Him.
Define your group’s purpose. Then live and act together in pursuit of that purpose.
What Is Purpose?
Merriam-Webster defines purpose as:
“The reason why something is done or used.”
Each small group exists for a reason. That reason is the purpose of the small group.
John Baldoni, in Lead with Purpose: Giving Your Organization a Reason to Believe in Itself, describes purpose as a combination of vision, mission, and values. An active small group that shares a vision, a mission, and values is a powerful force for God!
Importance of Purpose
Having a purpose is important for a small group. It gives the group meaning. Without purpose, there is no reason for the group to exist.
Purpose gives the group direction. It helps define the activities that the group does. It also helps define the activities that the group doesn’t do. There are many good things that small groups can do and accomplish. But out of these good things, there are only some that will be important for your small group to implement and do well to fulfill its purpose.
For example, if one of the purposes of the small group is to spawn additional groups, the group needs to be open to reaching out and inviting new people to join the group. It also needs to be open to members leaving to birth these new groups and celebrate the change.
Defining Your Small Group Purpose
The small group purpose needs to be written down and committed to by the members. If the members are involved in developing the purpose, you will automatically have their buy-in and support. Without their involvement, you may have more difficulty getting that buy-in. Even if the purpose is already written, the group can discuss it and determine if there is anything else they would like to add or be more specific.
As a group, discuss and get consensus on what your group vision, mission, and values should be. The one exception is that if you can’t define a mission, that is okay.
There may be a reason God isn’t revealing a vision to you. He may work His plan out without the group having a glimpse at the vision. His plan will be worked out as your group is obedient to Him on a day-to-day basis . I believe one of the reasons this happens is that God’s plan for what you can accomplish is much bigger than anything that we can imagine. If he revealed the vision to us right now, many of us would probably turn around and run the other direction rather than embracing the vision. So if a vision is not revealed, just define the mission of your group and what your group shared values will be.
I don’t want you to believe that this is just a business strategy process that is exercised. God definitely needs to be in the middle of defining the purpose. It must come from Him.
“The easiest way to discover the purpose of an invention is to ask the creator of it. The same is true for discovering your life’s purpose: Ask God.”
Rick Warren in The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?
I believe this quote by Rick Warren also applies to small groups. Members need to seek God for guidance when defining the small group’s purpose. Use the Bible, ask and listen to Holy Spirit within us, welcome godly advice from wise people God has placed around you.
Define your group’s purpose and focus your activities around the purpose. Watch how effective your group becomes while working together with a shared purpose.
Question: How has your small group developed and lived with purpose? You can leave a comment by clicking here.