23 May Taking on a new Church Group … The resources you need to get going.
Taking on an organized group or setting up a new one can be awfully challenging. Listed below are some great tips for new group leaders that will let move your group quickly to becoming a powerful tool for the better fit.
Start 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 setup should (generally) include: Engage, involve, and challenge.
Create a welcoming atmosphere. Seating: sit in a circle so all people can see each other and it’s easy to pay attention. Phones: Silence ringers and implement a phone fast while your group is getting together.
(For Youth Groups) Contact parents. The most effective method 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 actualize. It helps the group to spell out the expectations and examine what they mean for each member. The group covenant lies on the back of the small group sign up card (orange). Leaders should hang onto this and review when necessary.
Pay close attention to characteristics and personalities in the group. As the leader, you will soon learn there are some people in your group who will have the tendency to dominate the conversation, while others may never seem to open up. The sooner you pinpoint 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.
Developing healthy boundaries for your group. Boundaries make good communities if fences make good neighbors. 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 must accept one another as you are.
Confidentiality is crucial. What is said in the group remains in the group.
Have yourself committed. Ask everyone to commit to the group for the given period of time. When that time is up, give them the freedom to proceed or stay plugged in.
Always be prepared. Even if no one comes. Everyone won’t be able to make it at all times.
Hang time. Simply socializing together is of great value for the growth and health of the group. Make a point, up front, to set up 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.
Open and close in prayer. Open by praying for the lesson and close by asking God to help everyone apply what they have learned.
Quickly recap 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 story or a question; just be sure it is on the topic of the night.
Be confident 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.
Maintain the interaction going. Start a blog, Facebook email, text or page your group to post thoughts, prayer requests, and comments on the weekly study.
Try to keep it fresh: Even the best groups hit stale times where there is a need for renewed energy. When it does plan something out of the ordinary, watch for this to happen and. Take a motorcoach out for the day and do service projects around town, visit a museum, or go plant flowers for the elderly in the church. Doing something different can help retrieve those that may be tired of the same old weekly meeting.