Developing Small Groups
How do we intentionally develop small groups?
The objectives of each small group are to build relationships with one another as a family, to help each other live out faith in everyday life, to use each of our spiritual gifts for helping one another, and to reach out to others to grow the group.
Small group ministries do not develop on their own. The church needs to deliberately create and manage small groups - carefully identifying community needs, selecting and supporting leaders, choosing times, locations and materials, and monitoring group progress.
One of the purposes of the small group ministry team is making sure that each new group is structured successfully and meets the following requirements:
- Meetings: need to be at a convenient time during the week and not less often than twice per month (so people don't lose touch).
- Leaders: have designated co-leaders so the group is covered when the leader is absent and so a second leader develops to lead future groups.
- Topic: be clear on the topic so that it can be described in the brochure and people know what they're choosing (i.e., not just Bible study); co-leaders need to choose something they're excited about.
- Length: run from 6 to 12 weeks so people know what their commitment is up front and so the group can re-form and invite new members each "semester."
- Members: need at least 5 members to start and a plan to grow to 9 to 12 members.
- Training: review small group techniques with ministry team leaders to help the group develop pastoral skills and an atmosphere of prayer, openness, faith sharing, trust, safety, honest respect, tolerance and love.
Some things we ask of all participants:
- Be open: Make room for God to do something new in your life.
- Be transparent: As you openly share your hopes, fears, successes and failures, God will use your life experiences to build faith and courage in the lives of others.
- Be available: to God and to each other. Get to know other members of the group. Keep your eyes open for opportunities to encourage and pray for one another.
- Create a safe environment: where people can be heard and feel loved (no quick answers, snap judgments or simple fixes) and keeping what is discussed confidential among group members.
- Be Committed: Take this opportunity and commit yourself to make your group life a priority by attending meetings and keeping up with daily readings. Bring your book and Bible each week.
- Invite and welcome newcomers
- Keep your focus on God and your faith: Resist the temptation to make this a critical and intellectual theological enterprise; listen for what God is doing and wants to do in your life.
- Consider becoming a small group leader and trying your hand at facilitation.