The body of Christ is a beautiful example of what small groups should be. Each person should participate and every small group environment should include structure, flexibility, fun, growth, and ultimately life change.
Read 1 Corinthians 12.
5. Determine when and where your group(s) will meet.
When determining a time to meet, small group leaders should be sensitive to the lifestyles of their target audience (the women they hope to bring into their group). This will depend on whether the women are stay-at-home moms, retired women, career women, etc. Consider the following:
• What time constraints do they face?
• Will the women need childcare?
• Will the meeting day or time interfere with their family time?
• Will the date require women to be away from home too many evenings in a row?
• Is there enough time for women to travel from work/school to the small group?
When determining location, small group leaders should ask themselves a few questions:
• Is the meeting space comfortable? A home provides a safe and comfortable environment for individuals to find connection and growth. Cafés and coffee houses are also non-threatening. Just keep in mind the nature of the topics being discussed. For example, members of a sexual abuse recovery group might not feel comfortable discussing issues in a crowded public place.
• Is the meeting place accessible? Consider whether the location is within easy driving distance from the majority of members, and if it’s easy to find. Also consider whether stairs could pose a challenge to elderly or wheelchair-bound participants.
• Is the seating sufficient? Make sure there are enough couches, chairs, or tables for everyone to sit comfortably and participate.
• Is the equipment adequate? Various groups have different equipment needs such as tools for hobbies, video screens, sound speakers, etc.
6. Determine the structure of an agenda for the group.
• Determine what would define a “win” for the small group.
• A small group of 8-12 individuals encourages good conversation. You may not want to have any more than 20 individuals in each small group. Most homes are unable to accommodate more than 20 people. And conversation can be hindered when the group grows to this size.
• Within small groups, resist overcomplicating the structure by adding rules for no reason, but do provide direction.
A. Establish a timeline for your group:
- Day of the week you will meet and frequency (Weekly, bi-monthly, once a month)
- Time you will begin and end.
- Delegate a timekeeper.
- Establish the time you will eat, fellowship, discuss curriculum, and pray together.
B. Determine childcare options if applicable.
- Will each individual handle childcare personally?
- Will everyone give a certain amount toward a sitter that is in the same location as the group?
C. Determine if you will have refreshments.
- Food is a great way to alleviate awkwardness and create friendships.
- Designate someone to coordinate the food schedule. They could e-mail, call, or send a Facebook message to remind individuals of their responsibilities. If everyone participates, it is not a burden on any individual.
D. Consider celebrating communion together.
7. Create an inviting atmosphere.
While the lighting and music should be inviting, the most important component of atmosphere is the attitude. Small groups should have an atmosphere of transparency, authenticity, and equal opportunity to share. When an individual comes into a group, they need to know that what is said in the group stays in the group. Create an atmosphere of trust by exemplifying openness and honesty in your own comments, and by establishing a group code of trust.
8. Hang Out Together
• Set a date for a social. (This is different than your group time.)
• You could plan a game night, serve at a local soup kitchen, watch a movie, or host a BBQ. Do something that will continue to help you grow in your friendships.
What type of group are you looking for personally?
Identify and list three needs of those you are serving and which type of group would help fill that need.
Develop a mock timeline for a group setting: Include time for food, discussion, prayer, and hanging out!
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 National Women’s Ministries at women.ag.org, ©2020. Permission granted for personal use or within a teaching setting. Do not reproduce.