BEFORE THE MEETING BEGINS
- Prepare yourself by praying for personal insight and application.
Leading with personal vulnerability and honesty is the most effective way of drawing out participation and honesty in your group!
- Decide on a method of communication with your group.
Not everyone checks email. Some people don't like group texts. Some people check facebook and never answer their phone. We all have our preferred methods of communication. We don't have to cater to everyone's preference. But it is super helpful to let your group know how to expect group communication, and then hold them to it. They can get on board if they know what to expect!
- Mass text your group that day beforehand.
Sometimes that final touch of contact is the affirmation that someone needs to actually make it to group that night.
- Arrange the chairs in a circle.
Everyone needs to be able to see everyone and no one should be facing anyone’s back. It’s okay if it’s a little tight - it’s worth it to make it a decent circle!
THE FORMAT OF A GROUP MEETING
Food seems to be the common denominator for us all! Having food at the beginning of your meeting gives everyone something to do and something to gather around.
The majority of our groups arrange a snack schedule so that each week, someone different provides the snacks - this creates shared responsibility and investment from everyone.
Arranging that snack schedule is a great responsibility for a host to take on to help the leaders, or to ask someone in the group to take on! Delegating is effective and useful!
SMALL GROUP STATEMENT
Each of our groups transition to discussion time with Mission’s small group statement (provided in the weekly resource). Beginning with a small group statement is a great way to start a group discussion; it helps transition the group from social time to discussion time, it reaffirms our highest values, and sets a tone of trust & consistency for everyone in the group.
The discussion usually lasts about 45 - 60 minutes. Remember to present yourself as a facilitator in the group, and not as a teacher. The weekend message and scripture do the teaching. Your job is to guide a dialogue about what people have learned, and how it applies to our everyday lives.
When the discussion is about to start, choose your seat purposefully! That purpose is different for everyone, but you may want to be able to see a clock, watch the door for late-comers, sit next to a shy person to invite them to talk, or sit next to an over-talker to reign them in!
We want to be groups that pray for and with each other. Try to keep prayer requests specific and personal, relating to the needs of each other or immediate families. Encourage short sentence prayers for the sake of time! It’s usually best to have one person pray for the group and then send around the requests via email, text, or however you communicate best. That way everyone can pray for each other throughout the week, too!
>>> Click here for more tips of how to get the most out of prayer time in your group! <<<
START AND END ON TIME, EVERY TIME
Even when people aren't there yet, it’s good to set the standard for being on time. Even when it means people miss the very beginning of conversations, it shows a sincere respect for time.
If someone else hosts your group, be overly conscientious about getting done and out in a timely fashion. Hosts are often (overly) hospitable, so it’s the leader’s job to protect them by getting everyone to leave on time! You should be the last to leave each meeting.