Connecting with Your Small Group Members
Last month, Amanda Seidler shared with us about the importance of encouraging our small group members to connect, grow and serve with one another.
Connecting with one another may seem like something that naturally occurs when a group of people gather together, but it often requires some intentionality to encourage relationships between small group members. The New York Times published an article a few years back entitled, "Friends of a Certain Age: Why Is It Hard to Make Friends After 30?"
As external conditions change, it becomes tougher to meet the three conditions that sociologists since the 1950s have considered crucial to making close friends: proximity; repeated, unplanned interactions; and a setting that encourages people to let their guard down and confide in each other, said Rebecca G. Adams, a professor of sociology and gerontology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. This is why so many people meet their lifelong friends in college, she added.
As small group leaders, we should not only be aware of this, but we should foster environments containing, "the three conditions...crucial to making close friends: proximity; repeated, unplanned interactions; and a setting that encourages people to let their guard down and confide in each other."
Why not decide to take a week off and send group members out to dinner in groups of 2-4? How about breaking up into smaller groups of men and women to pray together. Maybe host a potluck and game night at one of your houses? The possibilities are endless.
"Often, people realize how much they have neglected to restock their pool of friends only when they encounter a big life event, like a move, say, or a divorce." On a regular basis, taking the time to establish a solid relational foundation within your group could be invaluable, especially in the life of a group member in crisis.
Don't let another day go by without planning a fun way for your small group to connect this month. I'd love it if you'd share your ideas!