As Small Groups Minister, I most often write things designed to encourage and equip small group leaders. This time my goal is to encourage every member of our Small Groups Ministry to consider being a great group member. Leaders, feel free to share this with your group and tell them it’s from me.
Ten Ways to Be a Great Group Member
1. Find a group and jump in!
Yes, that’s pretty basic, and if people see this blog who aren’t in a group, I want to state something else that should be obvious--There is no perfect group. If there were, it would be ruined once you or I got there.
Remember, the small group experience is a journey with other believers who encourage each other in the faith. We often speak of the “one anothers” in the Bible--praying for, encouraging, loving, serving, etc. No small group is perfect, but small groups are the perfect place for doing just that.
2. Make attendance a priority
You’ll get the most out of the group if you are there regularly. Every time you miss a meeting, you are a little less connected. Maybe it’s a prayer request update, an experience someone shares about their life, or the truth discovered from God’s Word as you study together. Consistency counts.
I can’t pass up the opportunity to tell you that I’ve had many conversations with discouraged small group leaders. The most common theme is people taking group participation lightly. From the leader’s perspective, they invest heavily in lesson preparation and leadership. It can be discouraging when group members show little commitment to the group.
3. Attend the group to grow spiritually
Yes, relationships are important, but spiritual growth is equally valuable. Let’s leverage those relationships for spiritual growth. Allow the Holy Spirit to use others to speak to you and in turn, when God speaks to your heart in some way, share that with your group. That will bless other people and sink the truth deeper into your heart.
4. Bring a friend or neighbor
We often overlook the power of relationships flowing through group life. John 13:34-35 talks about the power of love in showing we are followers of Christ. I believe that can profoundly impact someone who doesn’t yet follow Christ or isn’t involved in a church. Let’s use groups as an evangelistic and outreach tool.
5. Serve your group
There are many roles to play in the leadership of an effective group. Get involved by either volunteering to fill a long-term support position or simply bringing brownies to one meeting. Ask your leader how you can serve. Consider taking something off the leader’s plate by serving as missions coordinator, greeter, prayer leader, or childcare coordinator.
Relationships are strengthened when you participate in the conversation before, after, and during the group. People won’t get to know you if you are silent because they’ll never hear their connection points with you. Let people know what your interests are and what God is teaching you.
Some of us need to be encouraged to listen to others. Maybe we’re more comfortable talking, but we show people we value them by listening and responding to what they say. Leave some empty space in the conversation for some of the reserved people to jump in.
Pray for the people in your group. I’ve been really surprised how that connects me to people. When God answers OUR prayers, I’m almost as excited as they are! Also, let people know that you are praying for them. A simple text is often significant to people.
9. Communicate throughout the week
The best small groups don’t just exist on meeting day; they have conversations throughout the week. GroupMe is an excellent tool for this, but be sensitive to over-communication as well.
10. Encourage others
In case this truth didn’t come across already, small group is a place where we actively encourage one another, not just receive encouragement from the leader. All items listed above serve to uplift and motivate, but nothing like a word spoken directly to another person. Share a similar experience, let them know you are praying for them, encouraging them to be faithful. Group is all about one another.
What can you do this week to be a great group member and help build a great group?