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Create a Community Through your Small Group Ministry

Create a Community Through your Small Group Ministry

Unlocking honest dialogue is the most important, and also one of the hardest, things a small group leader does. Everyone comes into things carrying baggage or or burdens that they are worried about showing or telling others, but allowing people to share their thoughts and feelings in an open and honest way, without judgement or shame, is the best way to create a strong community in your small group ministry.

Here are five great tips that will help you develop community in your group:

During your group’s discussion time, do the following:

Ask questions:

Asking open-ended questions and the following up with an additional question or two will spark conversation. Be comfortable with silence, the things you are discussing often have deep and complex answers, so give room for the members of your group to formulate their thoughts and responses, and often silence is the best motivator for someone who typically won't speak up to gain the courage to share.

Be authentic with your group.

As leaders, we want to be seen as having the answers, that we've prepared ahead of time to lead. But sometimes not knowing everything is just what the people in your group need. Laugh, share your struggles as well as your victories and share your life and love for the Lord. Let the people in your group be your friends. You don’t have to spill your deepest, darkest secrets, but let them know you’re a real person who is in the process of becoming like Christ, just like them.

Maintain confidentiality.

If someone shares something personal and confidential, respect them and the small group space and honor their request Don’t share it outside of the group and ask the rest of the group to do the same.

Work through conflict.

People don't agree on everything, so don't expect them to. Tension in a group discussion is inevitable. When you start meeting, establish the fact that while we may not agree on everything, we are all there to grow in our walk with Jesus. Agree to work through any disagreements together. You may have to act as a mediator to make sure all points of view are heard.

Regularly plan group time for members to tell each other about their lives.

Small talk is good. When you first start your meeting, make sure you build in time for people to share things with each other. An icebreaker is a good way to let people share experiences from their lives.

Develop Relationships Outside of Your Group

Here are some ideas for activities you can do together with group members outside of your Bible Study:

  • Go to an event.
  • Go shopping.
  • Go to a movie.
  • Play games together and/or challenge another small group to join.
  • Go to a lake, the mountains or to an amusement park.
  • Go to dinner.
  • Do a service project together.
  • Go on a scavenger hunt
  • Celebrate major life events in group members’ lives.