Behind every superhero there is an origin story, a reason, a drive. Whether it’s a dark time in their life that sparked change or standing up for the downtrodden against an unbeatable force, there is always a point where their path of greatness begins. You may be at that point right now. Maybe you’ve heard a sermon, read a Bible passage or ended a small group session with an unquenchable desire to make the world a better place. There is no denying that the gospel of Jesus Christ challenges us to change not just ourselves but the world around us for the better. Could your small group origin story be beginning today?
But before we start jumping over buildings or shooting lazer beams out of our eyes let’s start with the basics.
Kindness is a power that Jesus modelled frequently throughout His life. Unlike a superpower, it has almost no boundaries. It can be used on the ones closest to us, but can also change the lives of complete strangers. Here are a few ways your small group can use kindness to crush the darkness around you:
Be a good neighbour
Perhaps this is only true of my street, but I feel like the closest we ever get to our neighbours is a nod in the mornings or a two sentence conversation while trimming the lawn. Wouldn’t it be great if the people around us could see our superpowers in action. We may lack the psychic abilities to check how our neighbour’s week has been, but with the right amount of empathy and respect we can delve a little deeper into their lives. Maybe there are issues that needs prayer, needs a good listener or maybe just a kind word. Spend some time in your small group praying for your neighbours. Maybe you don’t know anything about them yet, in which case this could be a chance to ask God to spark conversations. ‘Love thy neighbor…’ it’s where Jesus suggested we start.
Share the love
It’s a wonderful thing when a small group completely clicks! Everyone knows each other and you’re sessions just seem to flow. For some of you this may be a reality, and others a dream that seems a long way off. Either way, it might be time to consider sharing your small group with others. Spend a few weeks praying for those around you that would benefit from a little extra kindness in their lives. Come up with a few people (depending on the size of your venue) who you could invite to a social. This could include food and maybe some games but at the heart would be about supporting and uplifting your guests. If your small group is still finding its place, you may find a few new members and who knows – an evening of kindness may have had a bigger impact than you will ever know.
Get a costume
Whether it’s Roxxon Oil or Oscorp, the comic book world has its fair share of evil companies set on world domination. Unfortunately, this is one area where the comic book world collides with our own. A great exercise for a small group is to take a few weeks looking a the products you buy, clothes you wear and items you use. Although we may not directly back global inhumanities like slavery, pollution or tax evasion, each pound we spend is essentially a vote for the type of world we want to live in. Would a superhero stand idly by and watch the less fortunate be mistreated just to get a cheaper t-shirt… probably not. The good shopping guide is a great resource to use. Here the companies and products are ethically compared and graded so you and your small group can make informed decisions on which brands you choose to support.
Don’t get brainwashed
I wonder how many of us wake up in the morning, and before we have even got out of bed and put on our cape find ourselves reading a magazine, checking a news website or scrolling through our Facebook feed. Information and opinions are not only easily accessible, but often blasted in our faces. Issues come when the trend is to use negative news, the worse the better, to grab the attention of the reader. Now I understand that bad things happen and staying up to date with current affairs is an important part of life. But maybe tomorrow morning when you wake up and reach over for your phone you could give it a second thought and look at one of these websites instead:
These websites promote ‘good journalism’ and try to find everyday heroes and news stories that should be celebrated. In your small group try and remember that it is not all doom and gloom. Why not start a session by bringing positive news stories to discuss? And focus your prayers on the positive events from that week. God is moving and changing our world in unbelievable ways, far more exciting than who has the best summer bod.
Protect my city
The are tons of ways to look after the city you live in without putting on a mask and roaming alleyways late at night. Why not take your small group for a walk around your city, town or village. As you walk around pray for areas or buildings you feel God is drawing you to. If this is something you haven’t done before a good place to start would be a school, library or council offices where you can pray for teachers, council workers and leaders in your community. The every day heroes. You could also take a few bin bags with you and use this time to pick up litter, showing good stewardship of the world God has gifted you.
A mark of a true superhero is to save the day and then disappear into the night before they can take credit for their good deed. This is a trait I think we can all learn from. Look out for every day opportunities to leave something good behind. Like leaving change in a vending machine as a surprise for the next person, or leaving a box of doughnuts in the kitchen. Praise is great, but it’s important to remember that our treasure is not found in the praise we get on earth, but in the rewards we reap in heaven.
Change the world
‘What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?’ It’s a good question to start off a small group discussion. But the truth is that even superheroes fail sometimes and unfortunately so does the human race. Evil comes in many forms sometimes of our own creation. I’m sure we can all think of a global issues that we would eradicate if we had the chance. Maybe they directly affected us or have just always weighed heavy our hearts. As a small group spend some time gathering your thoughts and come up with a global issue that you feel needs to change. Over the course of the next few weeks take it in turns to highlight this issue. This can be done in many different ways:
- Write a letter to your local MP
- Find and share blogs that highlight the issue
- Write blogs on the issue
- Discuss with friends and family their thoughts on the issue
- Support a charity/organisation that is dealing with the issue
Equip your small group to bring about change in our world. You may not see the issue eradicated in your lifetime and it may be unclear what impact you have had but when it comes to changing the world there are two things that I believe. Margaret Mead said this:
Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have. - Margaret Mead
Small groups of people getting together to make things happen whether it is a group of superheroes or apostles are what have always changed to the world. More importantly than that in Romans it reads:
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
Romans 8:28 (NLT)
God brings together all things to work for His good and the good of those who love Him.
So even on the days when you may feel like you are fighting and loosing battle. You may feel like you’re Superman holding kryptonite and everything is going wrong. Remember that God has a purpose for you. If you love Him and work for Him – He is on your side. And years from now they may tell the story of the small group who teamed up with God and eradicated evil with prayer and perseverance. Now that’s an origin story I would love to hear.
About Ben Edwards
Ben is worship leader, youth work volunteer and small group member in his local church in Farnborough. He recently joined CWR as a graphic designer. In his free time he enjoys five a side football and DIY.