When you add another log to the fire, you know what happens. It is soon ablaze itself and it eventually helps keep the other logs burning as well. But the log must be touching the other logs. Set a fresh log outside the fireplace and not much happens. This is what we love about community: We fire each other up. But we’ve got to be touching each other.
Care and prayer for one another in the group go hand in hand. This is a 24-7 thing, not just a once-a-week-at-the-meeting thing. It is also a one-another thing, not just a leader thing. The New Testament shows a church that naturally cared for and ministered to one another. Healthy small groups are places where everyone is involved in ministry to one another, not where one person serves and cares for everyone else.
I want to try to find ways to connect people like logs in a fire in the groups I lead. So, within the first few weeks of a new group, I pass out index cards and have everyone write their name and contact information on one side and things they would like regular prayer for on the other side. At the end of the meeting, we put the names in a hat and everyone draws a card. They meet with that person after the meeting to talk, share other prayer requests, minister to and pray for each other. (This means each person will meet with two different people after the end of the meeting – the person they are praying for and the one that is praying for them.) They are to continue praying for that person every day as well as contacting them to encourage, pray out loud for, and build accountability with their partner. Of course there are many variations on this simple assignment. Whatever methodology you use, what’s important is getting people to pray for one another and thereby touch each other’s lives.