We small group blogger types are all over how to start a small group ministry and the necessities for overseeing a healthy one. We even dance wholeheartedly with coaching systems, the right structure for the right small group ministry type, and how groups can overcome conflict. Group dynamics, biblical directives that build community, and what Christian community really looks like are all part of the ongoing conversation.
But if an individual doesn’t know how to start a small group none of the above list is even necessary. So, how does someone start a small group? In it’s most simplistic chronology…
First… Know you are being prompted by God to start a small group. You will know, 1) if you’ve been prompted by the Holy Spirit, 2) been noted as a future leader by the church leadership and have been invited to take on this role, 3) have been seen by your small group leader as a future leader so you’ve been invited to be an apprentice, or 4) if the church announces a need for capable leaders and you realize you have the skills and passion necessary.
Secondly… Pray for God to unveil who should be in your group.
Thirdly… Invite individuals to become part of your group. Be able to answer the following questions: 1) When will we meet? 2) How often will we meet? 3) How long will each meeting last? 4) What are the expectations between meetings? 5) What is the group going to be about mostly? That is, is it going to be mostly about learning the Bible (a deep Bible study), building really intimate Christian friendships, restoration (a support or healing group), or being on mission together (a group meeting the needs of and sharing Christ with those outside the faith)? Every biblical group does all four of these things but one of them will be the primary focus of a group’s life. Your group may have some other primary emphasis. Whatever it might be, let the individuals you invite into your group know. 6) What will we do with kids?
Fourthly… Get a commitment from those you’ve asked to join the group. Invitation alone is not enough. Get a verbal commitment from each person you’ve invited. If they turn you down, don’t sweat it. Celebrate who God does bring to your group.
Fifthly… Communicate EXTREMELY WELL when and where the first meeting will be, how to get to the location where the meeting will take place, and what everyone in the group needs to bring with them.
Finally… Host your first meeting. This meeting should be pretty laid back. At this meeting, 1) begin moving people toward telling their stories by using a few extremely non-threatening ice-breakers, 2) decide what/study curriculum you’ll be using. 3) Give each attendee a sample covenant and begin discussing what agreements will be made between group members. 4) Determine how the group will handle childcare.