Life Groups are not just for helping newcomers get connected and involved. They are a great place for inviting neighbors, friends and co-workers. The church is never more missional than when it leads members to scatter into spheres of influence outside the walls of the church. These are what we call “free market” Life Groups, people who are not waiting for the church to send them new members, but they are out fishing for themselves. They see themselves not as keepers of the aquarium, but “fishers of men.” Years ago I printed up official looking Life Group Leader Fishing Licenses, and told them to put it in their wallet. This license authorized them to fish for new group members in the church and out in the wild. 🙂
So how do we connect with unchurched neighbors, co-workers and friends?
Michael Silva, gives suggestions for connecting to outsiders:
In many neighborhoods today, you’d think the neighbors were in hiding. People seem to be so busy with their own lives that they don’t have much time to get acquainted with others. Here are some ideas to put you “in touch” with your neighbors.
The best time of all to become acquainted is when someone first moves to your neighborhood. Your appearance at their door is sure to be welcome—especially if you bring along snacks, a meal, a city map, or a strong back for the piano!
If you or your family take the same route for a regular walk, folks will begin to notice, and even expect you. Eventually you’re bound to find someone who will notice and chat for a while.
Garage and yard sales—
What better place to meet folks than over a table of “beiter-than-blue-light specials”? Don’t forget neighborhood parties for selling housewares, cosmetics, jewelry or whatever.
Does your area have a neighbor hood association? A baby-sitting co-op? A garden club? How about the area school PTA?
One neighborhood has an informal volleyball game played every Thursday night in warm weather. Newcomers to the area are always invited.
Keep it simple. Make it fun. Churn ice cream, eat watermelon, pull taffy, or barbecue. Take ad vantage of every opportunity to pull neighbors out of hid ing and into your life. (Michael Silva, “Where Have All the Neighbors Gone?” CB Update, Volume 1, Number 2 (June 1991), p. 1.)