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Steve Gladen has been pastor of small groups at Saddleback Church since He oversees more than 3, adult small groups at Saddleback and loves seeing a big church become small through true community developed in group life. Stay in touch with Steve at www. Leading small groups Take Your Small Group to the Next Level For the new small group leader, the seasoned leader who feels their small group lacks purpose, or the leader who is itching to move their small group to the next level, Leading Small Groups with Purpose is the road map to follow. Every chapter includes ideas that you can implement immediately, as well as ways to shape your small group over time.
Leading a small group study is an amazing way to make a difference with your life. Small group bible studies leading small groups powerful vehicles for catalyzing life change and spiritual growth. Perhaps the idea of leading bible studies for small groups sounds exciting but also intimidating. I led my first small group twenty-two years ago as an intern at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky.
I was psyched, passionate, and petrified. I wanted my group to be great, but knew very little about successfully leading a group. Here are 50 tips. A successful group will be a God thing, so pray that God blesses your leadership and helps your group to be everything He has in mind.
Making it bright will create a warm environment. Coming into a house with music playing leading small groups more inviting. Food makes people feel comfortable and promotes interaction and conversation. Most people will be nervous to talk in group, and getting everyone to say something early on will make it much easier for them to say more later.
Tell us a bit of your background, maybe family, maybe job, maybe spiritually. Confidentiality is also a value in this group. What happens in group, stays in group. In light of that, one of my hopes for this group is that future leaders will be developed so future groups can start out of ours.
It can be helpful, though I have not personally done that, because I am usually dealing with pretty unchurched non-Christians because of the nature of the ministry of my church. I also emphasize that we will always practice acceptance and confidentiality.
Let everyone know that each week there will be an opportunity for them to share good things that we can celebrate together or things that require prayer.
At worst, it makes you suspicious. Be real. Show some vulnerability. That will endear you to your people. Let me try to find out the answer to that question this week. It also may inspire them to think they too could lead a small group. You are creating a spiritual family, and your meetings should have a fun, comfortable feeling. Families are messy, right? Well, my family is a little messy.
Families are messy because people are messy. When you take the group outside of your meeting night and outside of your living room relationships will grow deeper, faster.
People probably want to meet outside of group time, but need you as the leader to initiate it. So have everyone go out for ice cream, or meet at the park for a cookout on Saturday, or … you name it. One possibility is to mention your desire for your group to serve together after a couple of meetings, and solicit ideas for where you might serve.
Or you can look for serving options in your community and then bring your suggestions to the group. One way of overcoming that issue is to do your non-meeting get togethers on your group night. So instead of meeting for your normal living room Bible study, maybe six times a year you meet at a homeless shelter where you serve dinner together.
Instead of making an leading small groups commitment, try something one time, just to give people a taste and to set the precedent for your group. You could wrap gifts at Christmas time, or ask your church what you could do for them. But on that first night, or sometimes the second night, I usually establish a snack sign-up sheet or schedule.Starting on time will establish a practice of people coming on time. Set your heart to study the Bible and obediently apply its teachings to your life. It truly is a rewarding experience. As a small-group leader, commit yourself to become a modern-day Ezra. Timeliness on both ends shows respect for people. Leading small groups is an art, not a science. With skill, humility, and compassion, you will lead others to biblical truths. Start and end on time.
Having people bring food increases their ownership and gives them another reason to show up on their nights. You may want to set up a rotation of who is going to lead the icebreaker game or question, or who records the prayer requests and emails them out. If you put the food in a room that is hard to get to or out of the way they may never get touched.
People tend to learn better when they are actively involved, and sitting in a circle makes a lesson feel awkward and a discussion feel natural. When I train small group leaders I tell leading small groups to think of a pinball machine. In the group discussion, the pinball is who is talking.
Your role is to be the flipper. It will feel like forever, but in reality be three or four seconds. Wait patiently. People need time to process the question and formulate an answer.
They may need time to muster up the courage to talk out loud. Be comfortable with the silence. Ask the question again, but in a different way. If the amount they talk is reasonable and not an issue, great. But if the person is always the first person to answer every question and dominates the conversation, that is not great. I wish everyone felt as comfortable sharing with the group as you do.
Actually, I wanted to ask you to partner with me in helping other people to participate more. You have such good things to say. Read the questions beforehand and think through the conversations you want to have. Give a bit of coaching beforehand you could even use this article and encourage him to give it a shot. Someone else being the host will make the group less centered on you.
You might try moving it to a different home every few months. Depending on the age and the amount of kids you may need to provide babysitting. With older kids who can safely leading small groups themselves, you may not need babysitting.
Having group members bring their kids will help their kids grow up making God and church involvement a priority!
Send out prayer requests or have your group write down3 prayer requests and encourage everyone to pray for each other daily. These are just tips, not rules. Every group is unique. Share this Post.