Implementing - Service
(comments at end of section)


The possibilities are endless; the benefits everlasting.
Service to the congregation and larger world is a basic agreement between Small Group Ministry/Covenant Groups and the congregation noted in "Basic Elements of Small Group Ministry". The role of service in a specific congregation's program needs to be considered as the program is developed.
*Service differs from the traditional Social Action, although that may be a type of service.
*Groups and programs vary in incorporating service.

Service selection considerations
*How can involvement be inclusive? Consider members resources (time, money, transportation) in order to participate?
*Does the service activity engage the interests of the Small Group members?
*How does the service activity enhance the spiritual development of the group members and/or the development of the group itself?
*Is the service activity practical?

Service Part of Small Group Ministry.
*Service moves the group beyond discussion to action, and provides a different way or relating with each other and the congregation.
*The service varies from within the congregation to the broader community and world, and from ongoing smaller projects to a major focus.
*Service varies from greeting in a Sunday service to intensive projects, depending on the interest of the group. Group sessions on service and numerous suggestions are in the UU SGM Network publications and web.
*The service is determined by the group, rather than a presumed function, unless that is a clear part of the congregational structure, such as groups doing Greeting and Hospitality.
Service Not Part of Small Group Ministry.
*Groups meeting for short time frames, such as 8 weeks, may not feel that there is time to incorporate service into this time frame.
*Service is not part of the congregation's vision of small group ministry.
*Service may be presumed as complex, beyond the structure and energy of a group, and may be interpreted as a Social Action project. Service is all levels of complexity.
Scope of Service: Within the Congregation
* Service that benefits the congregation and its members is the tangible and relational aspect of 'doing church".
Session plan topics include service topics.
*Service activities range from ongoing functions (serving at Fellowship Hour, greeting at Sunday service) to specific requests (painting a room, providing meals for a family).
Scope of Service: Beyond the Congregation
Local Community
*Service may be done by a congregation as a designated part of a larger project, such as serving a meal per week at a Food Pantry.
*Service may be done jointly with an interfaith group.
*Support social justice initiatives locally

Broader community and World
*Opportunities through the UU Service Committee
*Relief efforts for disasters.
*Support social justice initiatives.
Who Benefits: Congregation as a whole
*The Small Group members themselves --bonding within the group
*Congregants as they benefit from the service provided.
*New energy within the congregation as this commitment to the congregation becomes visible.
Who Benefits: Beyond the Congregation
Congregants and others
*Anyone who uses the building
*Interfaith community

Ever larger community, near and far
*Unitarian Universalism and its place in the global community
Level of Involvement
Indirect involvement, lower commitment, "Spectator" service.
*Writing checks
*Contribute to fundraisers, such as bake sales
*Bring food for food pantry
Level of Involvement
More active involvement, increased use of resources
*Organize a fundraiser
*Make phone calls
*Drive people to appointments
*Contribute blood

Direct involvement, high commitment, hands-on
*Join a building project
*Witness for a cause - marches, stand in protest

Online Resources: Topic
Service Opportunities/Reflections for Small Group Ministry

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Introduction and Index | Overview of Small Group Ministry | Programming: Starting, Rejuvenating and Restarting Small Group Ministry | Oversight | Group Leadership and Facilitation | Groups | Sessions | Service | Visibility for Vitality

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