9 Ways to Have a Memorable Small Group

. at . 4 comments

We all know what a bad small group looks like. But what distinguishes a good group from a memorable group? What specific things can a teacher, leader, or facilitator do to make their small group memorable? Below are 9 ideas.

  1. Pray for the group on a regular basis. Research has shown that this one activity makes the biggest difference in the health of a group. Tapping into this supernatural power is smart. “Praying for another person is like touching God with one hand and touching the person with the other.  That’s what intercessory prayer is all about” (When God’s People  Pray, Jim Cymbala). HT to Brenda for the quote.
  2. Keep in touch during the week. This lets the group know that you care about them. You have probably heard the true saying, “They don’t care what you know, until they know you care.” Make contact via an email, text or IM. Send notes just because or when someone misses a class. Phone to follow up on a conversation or to say, “I prayed for you today.”
  3. Support community between the group members. The more connected a group is to one another, the better the communication and (emotional and spiritual) growth of the participants. Do this by not making all the follow-up calls yourself; share the task. Also have a few activities outside of regular meetings so that  the members can get to know one another better.
  4. Foster respectful interaction. Most likely there will be diverse opinions voiced. This can be a great asset to a group. But be sure to cultivate an environment of respect. This is done by maintaining appropriate eye contact (no staring or avoiding), giving people time to respond, no attacking of a person, and by using people’s names.
  5. Be prepared. Make preparation for the group a priority. When you are not prepared it lessens your credibility as a teacher. It also causes others to doubt your trustworthyness. This will negatively impact the relationships you are trying to build. And once you’ve lost credibility, it is hard to get it back.
  6. Go with the flow. While it is necessary to be prepared and to stick to the topic at hand, it is also good to sometimes go with the flow of the conversation. You have to listen well to the conversation and for God’s leading voice. My prayer at these times is, “Lord, show me how and when to segue back to the topic.”  He always does.
  7. Allow some chit chat at the beginning. This helps set people at ease. It helps everyone to transition from their busy day to the group’s agenda. And it helps other’s to get to know one another better. Instead of chit chat, you can also use a purposeful ice breaker to accomplish the previous three goals.
  8. Start and end on time. We are busy people. Most have a full list of events and to-do’s on both sides of the time you meet. Making it a habit to start and end on time shows respect and understanding. It allows the participants to relax and be fully engaged in the time you are together because they know you are a responsible time-keeper.
  9. Don’t be a know-it-all. Even if you do know-it-all, allow the group to discover most of the principles for themselves. Self-discovery has a greater impact than straight lecture. You can aid self-discovery by asking open-ended questions, by leaving time for the group to think through and talk about their answers before moving on, and by letting others give the answers to the questions asked.

Your Turn . . .

  • What have you found to be essential for a leader/teacher/facilitator to do in order to have a memorable group?
  • What are some of the qualities of memorable groups you’ve belonged to?

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Entry filed under: Main, Small Groups. Tags: , .

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Denise Drake  |  . at .

    Yes to all, but especially #1 and #2. It’s great when we stay in touch during the week. To me, the easiest way is with group emails, however, a simple blog just for the group might be good as well.

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  • 2. susan2009  |  . at .

    Ohhhh, Denise, you are speaking my language. A blog for the group is a great idea. I’ve also heard there is a way to keep in touch on fb.

    I want to get better at keeping in touch with my small group during the week whether or not I am the leader.

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  • 3. mybusinessaddiction  |  . at .

    I TOTALLY agree!! My small group at my church is great but some of your points here can make us even better. I think size can be an issue sometimes. The group is growing and we will approach 20-25 by the summer. This is awesome but I am finding that it is harder to stay in touch with everyone and inevitably (since we are all human) cliques have started to emerge. Any tips for that? Inspiring blog! K

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  • 4. susan2009  |  . at .

    So awesome that your small group is getting so big. You must be doing a lot of things right. I will write more about this later as I accidently erased my (LONG) answer and I need to go. But I did want you to know I read your comment and have a rely. 🙂

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