Launch Your Year Well

Ten Thoughts on Kicking Off Small Groups


It is hard to believe, but summer is almost gone. Just like always, it flew by very quickly.

With summer coming to a close, it's time to give some thought to kicking off the new Small Group Year after our break. Here are some things we can put into practice as the new year rapidly approaches.

1. Pray for your group members.

Yes, I know this is a slam dunk beginning place, 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. Invite people you meet.

We always meet people in various scenarios at church and in the community. Why not ask them, "Are you in a small group?" Statistics tell us two things. One, even at Brook Hills, there is a 30-40% chance that they are not in a group. Two, people respond more favorably to a personal invitation over any other publicity. So, go ahead and issue a few personal invitations.

3. Encourage your group members to invite friends and neighbors.

Mature believers are focused on disciple-making, and our job as leaders is to help people mature. We can help our group members grow in this area, so challenge them to pray for and invite people to Group, Church, and Christ!

4. Contact all your group members.

You'll want to make sure everyone knows you are starting back. It's also an excellent time to encourage them to bring a friend. Remind them of the time and meeting place, as these may have changed.

5. Develop a welcome plan for guests.

What do you do when someone visits your group? There is nothing like some great follow-up to help them stick. One of the best plans I have experienced is to take people out to eat right after the group meeting, or depending on when you meet, as soon as possible. If the budget is a consideration, then go for coffee!

6. Plan a party for the first meeting.

Make the first meeting something special and let people know what's coming. Food is always an easy way to make it special.

7. Announce the next study.

We often forget about this, but letting people know what you will study helps draw people. If you are using the Small Group Guide, and people 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 others 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 starting a new group. Really.

Yes, for our church to reach people, we need to expand our number of groups. We always need to be in a growth posture, so it's never too early to discuss new groups. Start by talking about it and sharing the teaching role occasionally.

10. Challenge your group to attend faithfully.

This challenge is so important at the beginning of each year because it's hard to do in the middle of the year. If you mention faithfulness later, everyone thinks you are addressing them directly. One way that we can help you do that is to review the Small Group Essentials at the first or second meeting. Along with attendance, the document addresses love, spiritual health, prayer, ministry, confidentially, authenticity, multiplication, unity, and community. Great Conversations is another great document to share at the beginning of the year.