Thoughts on Being a Caring Community

Chapter Five of Why Small Groups is written by Mickey Connolly. The chapter features a section on Caring for One Another. Connolly writes:
caring small groups
There are many ways we can express care for others in our small group. Let me suggest five proven methods:

1) Comfort

How wonderful it have committed friends who will gather around us, bring comfort, and help ease our burdens. The New Testament instructs us to "mourn with those who mourn" (Romans 12:15) and to "comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God." (2 Co. 1:4)

2) Counsel

By this I don't mean formal counseling, but sharing with those in need the wisdom, insight, and experience we have gained. Paul told the Romans, "I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another" (Rom.15:14) .

3) Encourage

We face times when life seems difficult, progress slow, or challenges insurmountable. How important it is at these times to have someone give us a pep-talk based not on positive thinking or blind optimism but on the manifold promises and hope held out to us in the Scriptures.

4) Help

James reminds us, "If one of you says...'Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,' but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?" (Jam.2:16) He said this not to discount the importance of our words but to point out that in many situation words alone can't meet the need.

5) Correct

To correct means literally "to straighten up again"; to intervene and help when someone is going off course. What could be more valuable to a friend than this? The Scriptures counsel us to love correction, going so far as to say that those who hate correction are stupid (Pr.12:1).
These are great guidelines for being a caring group. As you think about your group, consider which of these five areas you can better develop as you share one another's lives.