Preparing the first small group meeting is a crucial task for any small group leader. Group members are often unfamiliar with each other, and it’s important to help everyone feel welcome and comfortable. Here are 10 ideas to help you start well.
If you see them regularly (at church, work, in class, etc.), seek them out individually to have a friendly conversation. Remind them of the group and tell them you are looking forward to seeing them. If you won’t see them ahead of time, a phone call is more effective than a note. Send everyone an email or text the day before to remind them of the time and location.
Think about the room, the time, the lighting, seating, snacks and so on.
Work hard to remember each person’s name.
If only one or two people come, remain positive and ask them if they know of anyone else who might be interested. Tell them you are really looking forward to the Bible study.
Be sure it’s noncontroversial and easy to teach. You may want to spend most of the time getting to know one another. You could discuss biblical community or biblical principles for growing in faith.
Prepare an activity that helps people get to know each other and will work well regardless of how many people turn out.
Give yourself extra time for flexibility so you can end on time. You don’t want the first group to run long. Here’s a sample schedule for your first meeting:
Don’t ask for their testimonies or make them pray out loud.
Share some of your own spiritual journey with the group and your ups and downs along the way. Don’t try to impress them with your spirituality or knowledge of theology.
Talk about how regular attendance allows everyone to develop a sense of unity.
After Your First Group Meeting
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Life-changing small group environments are less about how-tos and more about experiencing Jesus. They are not focused on building head knowledge but on changing hearts and minds. These communities not only equip their members for service but also expose sin and call people to adore Christ. Christ-centered communities transform lives from the inside out.
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