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
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!
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.