At Northshore, we want each of our groups to intentionally accomplish the following:
Jesus is the center of our church. Jesus is the center of all our ministries. And Jesus must certainly be the center of our groups. Everything we do in our groups should align with our upward-facing purpose to honor Jesus… not just in the overtly religious things we might do in our groups (like prayer and study) but in our fun too.
When our groups are together we should be sure to pray. While some groups might make prayer a significant focus, every group should take at least a few minutes to thank God in prayer and pray for specific needs that might be represented in the group.
While it is certainly not a requirement that every person in our groups attend worship services at Northshore, give to Northshore, or participate in any other Northshore activity (we think it is great when groups are open to all), we want our groups to be supportive of Northshore, our ministries, and our people.
Include an Outward Focus
It may be natural for groups to have an inward focus as they prioritize the needs of the members of the group… so we want to be intentional about an outward focus. While some groups may make an outward focus a significant part of their group (like doing service projects), every group should do something outward focused each quarter (it could be as simple as raising money for world missions through an offering).
Provide Member Care
We want our groups to be a natural go to place when members of the group need help. One of the ways we demonstrate our inward-strong purpose is that members of our groups care for one another… watching out for one another in practical ways that may include meeting physical, mental, and spiritual needs.
Our groups should be contexts from which deep, meaningful, and lasting relationships are born and nurtured.
There are, of course, all sorts of ministries of our church that do not meet all six of these objectives (events, classes, projects, leadership teams, and such)… but we ask that all of our small groups intentionally strive to meet each of these objectives.