Small Group Challenges: When a Member Needs Ministry


No matter how great a group you lead, eventually, someone in the group will have a great need. It might be a job loss, an illness, a difficult pregnancy, a death in the family, or an accident. Most of these can great emotional stress, financial need, and stranded relationships. Your small group is among the first responders when such an event strikes a member.

How can your group minister to a member in need? Remember some basics:

  • Words can be useful but your presence may be more important. Don’t wear out your welcome but you can minister with just your presence.
  • Lead your group in prayer support for the group member in need. Keep prayer requests simple and avoid rumors and hunches. Respect privacy and share only what the member in need wants everyone to know.
  • Brainstorm possible needs the group member may have: meals, caring for any children involved, caring for family pets, taking care of the lawn, running errands, shopping for groceries, helping with bills, etc. The member’s family may have transportation needs. Find ways your group can help with some of these things.
  • Typically, we ask the person in need to “let us know if you need anything.” Yet, in a crisis, the group member is often too busy to identify needs. So, with some needs, just jump in there and do what you see needs to be done. Mow the lawn. Bring a meal. Take a collection and help with finances.
  • Plan your group’s responses. Take turns with meals so the member is not inundated with food they cannot consume. Get people who can offer transportation on a schedule. A little planning can go a long way.
  • Assure the hurting member of your prayers. Then, if possible, pray with that person. No sermons on suffering, just honest, thoughtful prayer. Pray like you would want someone to pray for you.
  • Keep your group informed. That might happen at regular meetings. You may want to create a private Facebook page only for your group members or a circle in Gmail or another email platform for emails.
  • Keep your pastor and staff ministers informed about how your group is helping. They will appreciate knowing how you are caring for a group member in need and how they might assist you.
  • You will likely find other church members who will want to help so become a conduit to help them care and minister as well.

Use some sensitivity and love as you minister to a member in need. Your group member will appreciate your caring actions and prayers as your group assists. Sometimes, because we don’t know what to do, we do nothing. Instead, do something in Jesus’ name with genuine love and concern. It is almost always right to respond to human needs with grace, love, and generosity. See what heart-felt concern can do.

Scripture: Read Matthew 25:31-46. How important to Jesus is caring for those in need?

Dig Deeper:  Read “When a Church Member Faces Crisis” by Candace McMahan.

Now It’s Your Turn: How have you organized your small group to help members in need? Please share your ideas so we can all grow together.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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