How to Start a Small Group

Interested in starting a Small Group? Nervous about how to do it? It’s okay.  You can do it. It’s not as difficult as you probably think it is.

Here are 5 quick tips:

  1. Pray – The most important thing you can do is pray. Ask God what He wants you to do, where to start, when to meet, etc.  Then listen.  Give this endeavor over to Him, then allow yourself to be His vessel to carry it out.
  2. Delegate responsibility – You don’t have to do it all by yourself. The more people are involved in helping, the more ownership they’ll feel for the group.  Also, just because you have the desire for a group, doesn’t mean you have to be the one to lead it.
  3. Be consistent – Once you decide on format, time, and place, try your best not to change it. Things happen, and sometimes you may need to change it up, but let that be the exception.  Once it becomes part of people’s schedules and routines, it’s harder for them to miss a night.
  4. Environment – This is often an overlooked part of a group, and can make such a huge difference. You want to create a warm and inviting space where people are comfortable and feel safe.  Here are a few tips for creating a good environment:
    1. Food – Serve a meal. That doesn’t mean it has to be fancy or that you have to prepare everything. This could be delegated to someone to organize, and each meeting could be a potluck.  Keep it simple and remember that if you feed them, they will come.
    2. Location – Make sure the size of the space matches the number of people. If it’s too small, people are uncomfortable and it’s distracting.  If it’s too big, people won’t feel safe, and will be less likely to share and be vulnerable.  Someone’s home is great.  A bar or restaurant can be an awesome place if it has a separate room.  If you are in a church basement or classroom, extra care might be needed in the category of lights and table covering to help it feel a little more “homey”.
    3. Lighting – If you are in a sterile church room, bring in lamps. Avoid florescent overhead lighting.  Strung lights out on a terrace, or lots of candles in a room can create a warm environment.   It’s ideal if you can create a space that looks and feels different from any other part of the day.
  5. Vulnerability – The key to a successful small group is vulnerability and trust. Allow for people to disagree.  As the facilitator, you should speak the least.  The exception is when you are asking the group to share something personal, you may have to set the tone by sharing and being vulnerable first.

Don’t Forget to check out our Resources page for suggestions on a good study.