Small Groups 501 involves shared goals, projects, or a mission. More than agreeing to a shared paradigm, Project Groups agree to get a job done. Entry levels for Project Groups could be as simple as scheduled diligence in serving at a local rescue mission or nursing home, or doing daily quiet times. A more advanced level would be to initiate a one-time project that would not happen without the group’s initiative, for example refurbish a duplex rental for single mothers, develop a prayer group to support your elders’ vision, form a short term missions team, or read the whole Bible in a year. In the most advanced stages of 501 Small Groups, big and broad goals are adopted, such as making sure all youth in the church have a mentor, eliminating poverty or elderly loneliness in a neighborhood, vowing to grow all the fruits of the spirit in each other’s lives, or refurbishing the local arts culture. The more advanced you get as a Project Group, the more you network others in and form partnerships.
The beauty of Project Groups is that they make priorities of the real goals. Project Groups live the life of Jesus, instead of just learning about it. Projects Groups develop their local community, instead of just sympathizing with it. At the end of the day, we don’t need more small groups, more churches, more Bible reading, or more people involved if it does not result in more life-change. If people adopt a project as a group wholeheartedly, the spiritual formation, community dynamics, and group multiplication necessary to get there will also be adopted along the way. Foster the right assets and you might get to the right goal. Foster the right goals and you will find a way to get the right assets. Project Groups are the 501 version for small groups because they make everything subservient to achieving the end goal: Life-change with Jesus, church family, and the world.
Cautions for 501 Groups center around diving into task orientation to the detriment of people. The goals drive us as people, but we can’t forget that people themselves are the greatest goal. If we lose track of Jesus and the people around us in pursuit of goals, we missed what it was all about.
- What projects motivate you most?
- Do Project Groups need to focus on only one solitary project? Do all group members need to perform the same roles?
- Will study of the Bible be helped or hindered if your group became a Project Group?