27 Aug Taking on a New Church Group … The devices you need to get started.
Taking on an organized group or initiating a new one can be terribly overwhelming. Below are some great ideas for new group leaders that will aid move your group rapidly to becoming a powerful tool for the better good.
Launch your group well
In part, the success of your group will hinge on the relationships within the group. The first group meeting can be intimidating for everyone involved.
The meeting style should (generally) include: Engage, involve, and challenge.
Create a welcoming surrounding. Seating: sit in a circle so everyone can see each other and it’s easy to pay attention. Phones: Silence ringers and implement a phone fast while your group is meeting.
(For Youth Groups) Get in touch with parents. The most effective approach to do this is to send a letter home with your small group students with your contact information and a picture.
Sign a group covenant. The group covenant is a tool to help each group live out the 5 Gs, as well as other values your group may want to incorporate. It helps the group to spell out the expectations and talk about what they mean for each member. The group covenant lies on the back of the small group sign up card (orange). When necessary, leaders should hang onto this and revisit.
Pay close attention to characteristics and personalities in the group. As the leader, you will soon understand there are some people in your group who will often dominate the conversation, while others may never seem to open up. The earlier you identify these dynamics (and others, such as where people are in their faith journey, etc.), the sooner you can address them and help your group navigate through them.
As the leader, you set the tone for the group. The more authentic you are, the more likely your group members will open up and be authentic.
Creating healthy boundaries for your group. If fences make good neighbors, then boundaries make good communities. Use the group covenant to keep the group moving in the right direction.
Apply the golden rule. Your group should be a safe place for everyone, which implies you have to accept each other as you are.
Discretion is crucial. What is said in the group remains in the group.
Have yourself committed. Ask every person to devote to the group for the given time period. When that time is up, give them the freedom to carry on or stay plugged in.
Always be prepared. Even if no one comes. Everyone won’t be able to make it all the time.
Hang time. Simply socializing together is of great value for the growth and health of the group. Make a point, up front, to schedule a few meeting nights just for fun.
Start and end of time. Respect everyone’s commitment by building consistency into the agenda early on.
Allow for social time. Build social time into the beginning of every group meeting. This can include an icebreaker or just time for people to talk and catch up. Oftentimes, this is included in the night’s questions or curriculum.
Open and close in prayer. Open by praying for the lesson and close by asking God to help everyone administer what they have learned.
Quickly evaluate the previously week. Don’t spend a lot of time here, just a quick review of the main theme from the previous week to refresh everyone’s memory.
Begin the conversation. Open with a question or a story; just make sure it is on the topic of the night.
Be cozy with silence. Some people “talk to think,” while others “think to talk.” Let silence linger for at least ten seconds before rephrasing and asking again.
Find approaches to interact outside of meeting time and stay in touch throughout the week. Stimulate people to get together in smaller groups throughout the week to hang or share a meal out.
Always keep the discussions going. Start a blog, Facebook email, text or page your group to post thoughts, prayer requests, and comments on the weekly study.
Keep it fresh: Even the best groups hit stale times where there is a need for renewed energy. Doing something different can help bring back those that may be tired of the same old weekly meeting.