Ready, Set, Grow… Your Small Group

Making the decision to lead a small group can bring both excitement and uncertainty to the first-time leader. Once you’ve decided that you are willing to lead a small group, here are the steps to take in getting your group off the ground.

First Things First

You first need to consider your own desires as a leader. What kind of group do you want to have? Determine in what circumstances you can best lead your group.

  • Location: Where would be most convenient for you? Do you want the group to always meet at your home, find a different location, or rotate between group members’ homes?
  • When to Meet: Look ahead on your own calendar for the next 6-10 weeks, and select the time and day of the week that you can be most available to lead your group consistently. When groups are just getting started, it’s essential for the leader to always be there, because you may not have yet identified others who are willing to step in as a substitute.
  • Group Type: Do you want your group to be focused only on people in the same stage of life, or do you want a good mix of people from across the spectrum of believers? (Married vs. single, no kids vs. young kids vs. older kids, all one gender or mixed genders, etc.) What kind of group do you think you could lead best?
  • Open or Closed: Do you want to open up membership to anyone, or do you want to just invite people personally through word of mouth?

Promoting Your Group

Using this diagram can help you brainstorm who you can invite to join your group

If you decide you want to open your group membership up to anyone, you need to get the word out to let people know you’re starting your group. Consider using a church bulletin/signup sheet, church website/Facebook page, invite people personally and ask them to spread the word. Be enthusiastic, and be prepared to explain to people WHY you’re wanting to start a group. You’ll find that many times groups have more long-term stability if it is composed of people who have invited their friends, but God can also build wonderful community among people who didn’t know each other before. Also, ask your pastor/priest to announce your group at a weekend worship service. People will pay more attention if they hear it from a leader’s mouth. Most importantly, pray for God to bring the right people to your group so that lives can be impacted in the most meaningful way. You’ll quickly find that there’s nothing more rewarding than experiencing life change with other people.

“There’s nothing more rewarding than experiencing life change with other people.”


Strategize Together How to Grow

Once your core group meets a few times, discuss potential for growth together. How big do you want the group to be? Decide on a target number of participants. Will you allow new members to join at any time, or will you temporarily close to new members so that you can go more in-depth with each other and with the Bible? Being open to new members can allow you to have more of a missionary mindset, but being closed can provide you more depth in discipleship. You need to decide together what you want your group to be.

Then decide together what materials you will study, something that everyone in the group can get excited about. Be careful not to pick something too in-depth or complex if you have people who don’t know each other well or are new believers. Start light and work up to more challenging as your group matures together.

Get to Know Each Other

It is important that everyone be comfortable and that you establish your group as a fun place that people want to come to. If your group members don’t already know each other, allow the first meeting or two to just be social gatherings. No pressure. Serving God and growing in your faith is FUN!

What’s Next?

Be patient and give your group time to build trust. A solid small group isn’t built in a day. Pray for each other. Enjoy being together. Slowly open up about your personal stories and faith walks. The rewards will be tremendous!


Watch a 50-minute video of a webinar presenting all this content below.

To Be or Not to Be… A Small Group Leader

Are you interested in Small Group ministry, but would like to know more about its purpose and how to be a good leader? Read on for an outline of the who, what, and why for starting a small group!

  1. Why Small Groups?  Because Life IS Better Connected!
    • God created us to be in relationship with one and other.
    • Small group provides an environment where life change can occur.
    • Small group is a safe place for fellowship, prayer, studying God’s Word, and accountability.
    • Small group helps us grow our personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
    • Being in community on a small scale provides comfort on the larger, corporate scale.
  1. Why YOU should consider hosting or leading a small group
    • 1 Corinthians 3:6 says some will plant seeds, others will water, but God makes the seeds grow.  Churches NEED more people to plant and water.
    • Hosting or leading a small group gives you the privilege of serving the church and the members in your group in a meaningful way.
    • The rewards of leading a small group are great!
  1. Understanding your role as a small group leader – what qualities are needed?
    • The small group leader’s role is to provide vision, to direct, and to support the group.
    • We encourage growth in 3 areas:
      1. Growth with God
      2. Growth in our community with other believers
      3. Growth in our influence on others
    • The small group leader must have a desire to be in community.
    • He/She must be in a personal relationship with Christ.
    • The small group leader should believe that the Bible is our final authority in faith.
    • The leader should have the time, emotional capacity, and the moral discernment to lead.
  1. What are the expectations of a Small Group Leader?
    • Facilitate – don’t teach….monitor and promote participation with your members.
    • Commit to your growth as a small group leader – read blogs, listen to podcasts, subscribe to newsletters that speak to small group development.
    • Identify an apprentice or “helper” to lead with you – this is key to staying fresh. Have your helper take on administrative tasks, take turns hosting, and share in facilitating.
  1. Getting Started!
    • Recruiting members – promote through the church and through personal connections.
    • Establish location – keep in mind that location can be SO important.
    • Establish day & time.
    • What is the overlying theme of the group – if any?
    • Discuss group covenant – confidential, commitment to attending regularly, term of the group etc.

View a video of a 40-minute webinar presenting this information below: