Getting Ready for a Great YearJay Gordon
Ten Thoughts on Kicking Off Small Groups
It’s hard to believe, but summer is almost gone. Just like always, it flew by very quickly.
And with the demise of summer, it’s time to give some thought to kicking off your Small Group after our summer break. Here are some things to think about as the new year rapidly approaches.
1. Pray for your group members.
Yes, I know this is a slam dunk beginning, but don’t we often overlook this? I encourage you to have a systematic way of praying for your group members. You can go with the standard index cards, a google doc, or even a prayer app like Echo or Prayer Mate.
2. Consider offering a virtual option.
The next few weeks will tell us more about where we stand with the Delta variant of COVID-19. But regardless of where that stands, some people are still hesitant to attend in person. I am not recommending each group offer a virtual option, only that you go ahead and think through the positives and negatives for your group.
3. Refocus on outreach to build up your group.
Many groups have lost a few members to natural transitions without the normalcy of life to replenish those members. We hope that this fall is an excellent time to add a few people to each group. Of course, we should always be outreach-oriented. Let’s learn to do this well.
4. Contact all your group members.
You’ll want to make sure everyone knows you are starting back. It’s also a great time to encourage group members to bring a friend. Remind them of the time and meeting place as this may have changed.
5. Develop a welcome plan for guests.
What do you do when someone visits your group? There’s nothing like some great follow-up to help them stick. One of the best plans I’ve experienced is to take people out to eat right after the group meeting, or depending on when you meet, as soon as possible following. If the budget is a consideration, then go for coffee!
6. Plan a party for the first meeting.
Make the first meeting back something special and let people know what’s coming. Food is always an easy way to make it special.
7. Announce the following week's study topic.
We often forget about this, but letting people know what you’ll be studying helps draw people. Maybe you are using the Small Group Guide, and people really resonate with the current series. Leverage something that you have gotten out of it to draw others.
8. Share the work with others.
If the small group involves more than just a weekly meeting, and it does, there is much to be done. Consider what you could give away. That will also help other people grow in their commitment to the group and their growth in Christ. You can give away prayer communication, fellowship coordination, or missions involvement leadership.
9. Work toward multiplication. Really.
Yes, for our church to reach people, we need to continually expand the number of groups we offer. Providing various options in life stage and location are essential as new people seek to find a group to fits their personal needs. This is especially important now, as late in the pandemic, we lost a few groups. We always need to be in a growth posture. Even though your attendance may be diminished somewhat here at the end of the pandemic, it’s never too early to plan to multiply. The best way to start is to share the vision of multiplication with your group and occasionally share the teaching role to help prepare new leaders.
10. Challenge your group to attend faithfully.
Discuss faithful attendance now because it’s tough to do in the middle of the year. If you mention faithfulness later, everyone thinks you are addressing them directly. Reviewing the Small Group Essentials at the first or second meeting is an easy way to address this. Along with attendance, the document addresses love, spiritual health, prayer, ministry, confidentiality, authenticity, multiplication, unity, and community.