As we head into a new small group season, you are either launching a new group or kicking off with your existing group. Whatever category you fall into, as leaders, we have goals for the season. We want to build community, be available and consistent through different life stages, and have open and honest dialogue about our group. We hope to do all of these things to grow in faith and community. Sometimes, however, that's easier said than done. 

Within the first few weeks, a roadblock may develop. Don't let that stop your momentum. Instead, get creative!

Here are some common roadblocks with some creative solutions. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, so allow these ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

Of course, one of the best places to find creative solutions to common roadblocks is to share ideas with one another. Since we are all in the trenches together, let's be sure to frequently share experiences and ideas, so that all of our groups can be fruitful communities of life change.

My group wants to have more social gatherings, we just don't have the time right now. Sure, it's great to hang out outside of group, but sometimes trying to coordinate a dozen schedules feels impossible. There are a few creative things solutions you can apply to foster community:
  • Leverage your existing night. If everyone in your group has already blocked off your small group night, then choose one or two of those meetings throughout the season to just have fun. Go out to dinner. Serve together. Have a game night. 
  • Have every person (or couple) pick a name out of a hat. The next week, instead of having your regularly scheduled group, everyone will make plans on their own and have the chance to get to know someone better one-on-one.
  • Encourage group members to get together outside of group and remind them that not every group member has to be at every social function - and we shouldn't get offended when people hang out in smaller groups.

 


Kids! What do we do about childcare?  Maybe your group used to be young married couples, and has quickly morphed into a family group. Or, perhaps you added a few new members who are struggling with childcare options. Either way, it can be a challenge to welcome all life stages and not compromise the values of the group. Be sure to clearly define your solution, to make sure that everyone is in agreement. 
  • Mix it up! Have the entire group meet twice a month with kids, and once just with the women (dads stay home with the kids), and once with just the men (moms stay home with the kids). 
  • Share responsibility. Take turns having one couple or person stay with the kids in a separate room while the group meets. This works the best when everyone in the group has kids.
  • Hire a babysitter. Have everyone bring a few dollars to each group and hire a babysitter to be with the kids in another room.
  • Include the kids. If your group has older kids, find a way to incorporate them. They may be old enough to play by themselves during group, but maybe share a meal together, or have them engage in one discussion question.


It seems like everyone has different  expectations  for what our group should be. How do we address that?
Don't ignore it! If you are sensing that group  remembers have different expectations, it's important to get everyone on the same page.
  • Google surveys are your friend! Create a survey that will help you discover the information you want to know, in a safe and contained way. Ask questions like, "Ideally, how often would this group meet?" or "Rank the following things you are hoping to get out of this group: growth, community, prayer support, etc." Use the data to have a facilitated discussion in a following meeting, or to talk with individual members."
  • Use one or two meetings to establish a group vision, and to set expectations. Talk about consistency, what each person values, and what your goals are as a group. And make it fun! This doesn't have to be a painful process - use it as a way to get to know one another better.



Sunday, January 17: Small Group Connect
Sunday, January 24 from 12:30-2pm in the Ministry Center: YOU Belong, Membership at North Way 
Friday, July 14 - Saturday, July 14: d4 Pittsburgh


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