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3 Tips for Starting a Church Small Group That Works

3 Tips for Starting a Church Small Group That Works

May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples.Genesis 28:3

Have you ever been a member of a church small group that never really gelled – where the group members weren’t sharing at the same level, or had different agendas, or weren’t all that committed to the group? Before you start inviting people to join your small group Bible study, here are three tips to help you set the stage for a successful group.

Tip #1: Decide your church small group’s purpose.

Do you want to start a small group that creates a safe space for people to talk about faith questions? That would be an evangelistic group. Do you want to connect with others who are experiencing the same stage in life or the same issue as you? That would be a fellowship group, or a support group.  Do you want to grow in Christ with other like-minded people? That would be a discipleship group.

Tip #2: Choose your church small group’s plan of study.

Find a Bible study curriculum that suits the purpose of your small group. If you’re an evangelistic group, choose a study that invites questions or that gets the group taking action together and serving your community—unchurched people are often drawn to groups that are making a difference. If you’re a fellowship or support group, find a study that addresses a specific topic, such as relationships or healing, and offers between-sessions options for further reflection on your own—and application to your life. If you’re a discipleship group, you might want to engage in a study on a book or person of the Bible, or on theology, and you might be looking for more involved study and digging into the Word on your own between sessions.


Tip #3: Give informative invitations to your people.

When you’re inviting people to join your small group, it’s important to communicate your what, when, where, who, and why. The more informative you are, the more uncertainty you remove for people and the more comfortable they will be about committing to the type of group you’re starting.

Be sure to tell them WHAT study you are doing, WHEN you’ll meet (what day and time, and for how many weeks, so they know what kind of commitment is expected from them), WHERE you’re meeting, WHO else you’re inviting (and if they can invite a friend), and WHY you’re starting this group (this gets back to your purpose– you want to let people know what you’re trying to accomplish with this group so they can buy-in before your first meeting).

BONUS TIP: Start a Study Gateway Small Group subscription at less than $1/person per month!

To make it easier to start a group—and keep it going: join Study Gateway. As a subscriber to Study Gateway’s streaming Bible studies, you have access to hundreds of video lessons by trusted pastors, Bible teachers and authors from HarperChristian Resources. You’ll find studies for women, for men, for church leaders, for students and children, for marriages, for people in crisis, for new Christians, and for seasoned veterans in the faith. Even before your first study is over, you’ll want to browse through the library to discover the study your group wants to do next, and next after that!      

Did you know? Study Gateway is the only streaming Bible study service that offers subscriptions specifically designed for small groups! It’s easy to start your free 7-day trial, and after that you pay less than $1 per person per month for a group of up to 20 people. Individual and church plans are available too. Check it out!