If we are leading small groups, we need to be part of a small group as well. Why? Because leaders often fall into surface relationships. We become overwhelmed with ministry, family, work, and extracurricular activities, leaving little time to develop trusted friends. We must find people with whom we can form authentic relationships, as well as provide environments for those around us to be involved and experience the life change that comes from authenticity.
The first step in small group ministry preparation is discovering why small groups are essential for you as a leader, and for the women you serve. This requires answering two questions: How will a small group benefit you? and How will you benefit a small group? Once you know the answers to these two questions, you can help others understand why they need to be part of a small group.
How will a small group benefit you?
Before the women in your church commit or endeavor to try something new, they will want to know how it will personally benefit them. They will look to their leader for an explanation of why small groups are essential. As you prepare to form new small groups, determine the reasons you believe small groups are important. Determine what would motivate you to spend time weekly or biweekly in a small group setting. Perhaps the four reasons listed below can be a starting point for you:
1. You will have fun.
2. You will build trusted friends. Small groups promote authentic friendship and genuine conversation. Small groups provide an environment for individuals to connect and grow. The Early Church was made up of small groups of individuals who met consistently in one another’s homes to learn, grow, and experience life together. In this atmosphere, people feel safe, and can be open and honest about what they are feeling, thinking, and believing.
3. You will be challenged personally. Small groups are essential to our spirituality because they help produce ongoing life change. When we start a relationship with Christ, it is only the beginning of our journey to becoming more like Him. Weekend services are simply not enough challenge or encouragement for consistent growth. We need personal relationships that will help us on this journey. If we allow and invite others to know us and challenge us, we will see consistent life change.
4. You will grow on your spiritual journey. Small groups provide an environment for us to connect socially, develop personally, and to grow spiritually. No one desires to become spiritually stagnant; however, if we fail to nurture authentic relationship, we can find ourselves declining spiritually. When we invite others to consistently encourage and challenge us, we begin to grow and mature.
God’s plan from the beginning is for us to live in harmony with each other. God did not leave Adam alone in the Garden of Eden. He wants us to experience authentic relationships in community with others. We cannot thrive spiritually on our own. We can try, but we will fail. We must intentionally surround ourselves with other believers.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another” (Romans 12:14-16, NIV).
How will you benefit a small group?
- You are unique.
Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s masterpiece, He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (NLT). The definition of the word masterpiece is, “a person’s greatest piece of work.” We are God’s greatest work! I imagine God is full of pride when His children are interacting, growing, learning, developing, and connecting together.
- You are valuable.
- Your personality is unlike any other.
- Your perspective is different; others need it as they grow in their journey.
Read Ecclesiastes 3:1‐8.
We may be saying, “Small groups sound good, but who has the time?” The answer is that we do not have the time not to be in groups. We all need relationships. We need to be challenged and we need to grow. Each day has 24 hours. We each have the choice of what we will do with those 24 hours.
The second step in preparation for small group ministry is capturing the heart and mind of your leadership. Here are a few steps to help you:
1. Communicate the need for small groups.
2. Communicate your plan.
3. Communicate the power small groups have on other growing ministries.
4. Give an example. Share a life‐changing story about how a small group positively influenced someone’s life.
Are you growing spiritually? Personally? Or are you stagnant?
Why do you think small groups are important for you as a leader? For those you serve?
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV®. COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984 BY INTERNATIONAL BIBLE SOCIETY®.
“A Leader’s Guide to Forming Small Groups” is published by the National Women’s Department at women.ag.org, ©2020. Permission granted for personal use or within a teaching setting. Do not reproduce.