Thoughts on leadership and caring from a real shepherd, part 1
Creative small-group wrap-up ideas
It’s a good idea to bring closure to your small-group times whenever you reach a new milestone in your life together. On campus, this is often at the end of a term and just before a long break. As you wrap up your small group, take time to evaluate, appreciate and celebrate your journey with each other.
See the main article, Celebrating what God has done.
Gift making. The best gifts are often handmade or discovered in nature. A week before the group’s last time together, have everyone draw names and spend the week finding or making a gift, such as a bookmark, card, hand-painted t-shirt, poster or keepsake box. You might also incorporate a special verse from the book of the Bible you’ve been studying. Or, choose a verse based on a Bible character from Scripture and turn it into a blessing for a group member: “May you be like Ruth, who …” (For example, see the blessing in Ruth 4:11-12.)
Postcards from home. Before a school break bring in “postcards” (just regular 3” x 5” cards) and have each person write an imaginary postcard back to the group telling about their ideal break and how it’s going. Mix them up and let each person read someone else’s to the group. Use this as a launching point to talk about expectations and concerns prior to break.
Memorial stones. This idea comes from Joshua 4. After the Israelites had crossed the Jordan River (which parted much as the Red Sea had done) and entered the Promised Land, they left a pile of stones to commemorate God’s faithfulness.
Bring enough rocks (not gigantic ones) for everyone in the group. Have each person pick one. Now read Joshua 4 aloud, or summarize the story and read just a few key verses. Then have each person tell ways they have seen God’s faithfulness in the life of the group and place his or her rock on the growing pile in the middle. Conclude your sharing time by thanking God for his faithfulness. (If you can’t get rocks, try writing or drawing on paper.) Let people leave with their rocks.
Thank you notes. Pass out enough pieces of attractive stationery so that each person has enough to write a note to everyone else in the group. Have people write words of appreciation, thanks, or whatever they value in various members of the group. Then take turns being “it.” Have the group members read their notes to that person, giving him or her the notes to keep and then thanking God for that person in prayer.
See also Celebrating what God has done