Communities of Purpose (COPs) facilitate local or virtual and gather monthly to hold each other accountable for executing their small group ministry planner, taken from the book “Planning Small Groups With Purpose” or the SGN Accelerate! Conference. These are peer-to-peer learning groups that meet virtually or physically, for not only accountability, but also for peer to peer coaching and sharing of ideas.
It is easy to become isolated and stand alone. Once you’ve distilled your specific plan and a few near-future goals from the book “Planning Small Groups With Purpose”, by yourself you may put the plan on your shelf and soon drift off course. Connecting regularly with a COP will keep you focused and accountable to follow through. Your colleagues will also be there to help you stay upright through the rogue winds and storms of ministry, when the devil wants to toss you around. Pastor Rick says, “I grew up in northern California near the giant redwoods. Redwood trees have shallow roots. They withstand the wind by intertwining roots and holding each other up. What a perfect picture of fellowship! We spread out, we intertwine, and we hold each other up. That's what the Small Group Network’s COP can do for you.”
Following is a cool story from Brian Naess and Steve Curran, explaining how their Community of Purpose worked for them. First, from Brian, pastor of outreach and assimilation at Violet Baptist Church, Violet, Ohio:
“One of the most valuable parts of the Accelerate! conference is connecting with accountability groups [COPs]. We commit to meeting once a month for a year. These times have been invaluable for me to carry out what I learned. Even more than that, I have gained an incredible friend, Steve Curran, from Georgia of all places, to do ministry together. We have just completed our year commitment and have decided to continue meeting.”
And from Steve, Life Groups team leader at Compassion Christian Church, Savanah, Georgia:
“I have been in a small group ministry for a number of years and had a ministry plan firmly in place. I came away from Accelerate! with new clarity of vision for small groups at my church. Every bit of that was worth the trip, but the added and unexpected bonuses are the new relationships. We were each paired with an accountability partner [in a COP], and we committed to praying for and remaining in contact with that person on a monthly basis. My partner, Brian Naess, is an incredible encourager, a great sounding board, and a godly man who has become a true friend. Although Brian and I have passed our one-year mark, we still talk every month. He has helped me stay the course and run my race well. The practical tools from Accelerate!, as well as my friendship with Brian, have really accelerated my ministry.”
In June of 2018, we will be launching COP globally for those who take their small group ministry seriously. You can fail to plan, then plan to fail!