What should happen in your small group?
It depends.........What is your principle purpose for your small groups?
- Developing closer relationships between church members,
- Assimilating new people,
- Numerical Growth'
- Spiritual growth,
- Equipping opportunities,
- Developing new leadership,
- and/or Maintaining accountability.
The format and content of your small groups will be determined by your purpose and your church’s values and priorities.
Over the years we have initiated small group ministries in several different churches - often with different values and priorities - but most of the content was consistent and based upon Acts 2:42.
After Pentecost, the followers of “The Way” gathered together on a regular basis.
Acts 2:42 (NIV) They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
It is always important for the meetings to begin on time and to close on time. The fastest way to kill a small group is to start late and end late. Life today is jammed with important activities and people are hesitant to commit to a new activity unless they realize its value.
- Open on time: Group leadership generally includes the leader, hosts, and worship leaders who need to arrive early so the meeting can begin at the prescribed time whether or not anyone else is there.
- Closing is a little trickier. Almost always there will be ministry to individuals that cannot be stopped at the closing time. It is important that those not directly involved in ministry be released to go to another room for snacks or go home.
- We normally started the sessions with the singing of praise and worship songs to provide a transition from a hectic worldly schedule to a more relaxed, worshipful, and spiritual mood.When groups are new and people do not know each other well we have found “Ice Breakers” useful to learn more about one another. You can find any number of “Ice Breakers” in youth ministry resources. They are great to get for adults loosened up!
It is best to break the ice after all have arrived – after the worship time.
- Then it is time for an opening prayer.
- Sharing of scripture: This is not a time for a lecture, sermon, or even a homily. It is important that each person has an opportunity to interact with the scripture.
The leader is a facilitator, rather than a teacher. As such, he/she must have an overall direction as to where he/she will guide the discussion, through questions to which others will respond.
- Sharing of needs: At this point, everyone is encouraged to share what is going on in their lives and to share prayer needs. Be careful here, because there will always be some who feel a need to dominate this time week after week with the same issues. Leaders must understand how to handle this with grace and firmness.
- Individual Prayer ministry.
- Closing prayer and dismissal
- Snack time and fellowship after the closing. [this was optional as some would have to get home.]
Please feel free to share your comments or suggestions below!