Planning Your First Group
Planning Your First Group
Once you’ve completed the Group Leader Training, you can use the following steps to help you with your first group meeting. You can also download a more detailed guide that will walk you through the entire setup process.
1. Plan the Initial Meeting
- Secure an adequate meeting place.
- Prepare a timed agenda.
- Determine desired group size. The ideal group ranges from 8 – 12 members.
- Pray that God will bring the right people to the group.
- Invite potential members.
- Publicize the group to your target audience in your church or business community.
- Personally invite people and encourage “no obligation” attendance at an initial meeting. Get commitments to attend.
- Invite enough people to ensure your desired group size (about double the desired size of the group).
2. Conduct the Initial Meeting
- Arrive early to prepare the room.
- Start on time, open with prayer.
- Address the WIFM (What’s In It For Me) questions.
- What is the group going to do?
3. Present and Answer
- Present the vision for the group and answer questions.
- Who is in the group?
4. Tell a Story
- Allow each person to tell his/her story.
- Will I fit in?
5. Ask Questions
- Encourage people to ask questions and express their own expectations.
- What will be expected of me?
6. Outline the format
- Outline the format for future meetings, course of study, and member expectations.
- A bonding trust is critical
7. Be Aware
- Be aware that people are hesitant to be completely open and honest at this stage in the group’s life.
- End on time or early.
- Confirm the time and place of the next meeting.
- Ask for a return commitment. Ask for contact information.
- Close with prayer. Thank God for those who attended and for a successful start.
- Follow-up after the meeting by calling people to invite their comments of the first meeting.
- Ask again for a return commitment.
- Send a reminder
- After a successful launch, you begin the process of transition from “I” (a collection of individuals with purely selfish interests) to “we” (a group concerned with mutually enriching relationships). This phase may last three to five meetings. While a certain amount of early “storming” is inevitable, you can assist your group’s progress through this phase with a group covenant. A covenant sets boundaries and clarifies expectations of behavior.
9. Small Group Covenant
- The covenant should be made with a fixed time period (perhaps six months to a year), or a period that coincides with completion of a study program.
10. Other Formation Activities Include
- Deciding on meeting frequency, duration, day of the week and time of day, location and course of study.
- Deciding when, how or whether to accept new members into the group.