Training & Tips
This is a link to 27 great tips from Bill Search form CITY ON A HILL (See also on YouTube)
Bill Search is the author of Simple Small Groups. He has served in ministry for nearly 20 years. Bill loves spending time with his family, drinking great coffee, listening to jazz, and enjoying the great outdoors.
Preparing for and leading the first meeting of any small group can be intimidating. Beginning with icebreakers, focusing on building relationships, and honouring the time limit are just a few of the helpful tips offered in this video to aid you in starting your small group well.
Every small group needs to have a formal agreement of the purpose and role of the group. Some elements to include in the discussion would be time commitments, confidentiality expectations, level of respect, and primary purpose the group is hoping to serve in the members' lives.
Some great groups either die or dwindle after the first meeting. As the leader, it is your responsibility to follow up with your group in a way that encourages people to come again. Thankfully the tips in this video show you how this can easily and effectively be done.
What is the ideal group size for a small group, especially when you're factoring in meeting times and expectations? Furthermore, what should you do if your group is too small? These tips offer things to consider and ways you can go about effectively growing your group.
As parents in small groups, deciding how to best take care of your kids during meetings is an important element. Groups will differ on how they handle childcare, but there is no right or wrong way. In the end, doing what works well for your family and your group is best.
Having someone to help, assist, encourage and challenge you while you lead a small group is important. A coach is someone outside of the group that you can turn to when you need a listening ear or advice.
One of the harder parts about small groups is that, as you pour out through leading and encouraging others, you can become dry and discouraged yourself. These tips focus on how you can be poured into and find spiritual refreshment throughout your day.
Even though Scripture doesn't define a specific small group size, sometimes a group can be too big and become ineffective either as some people dominate the discussion or as other people don't talk at all. However, if you find that your group is big, there are ways to avoid the inefficiency and still make the most of the discussions.
Whether it be inconsistent attendance, bad curriculum, or even the holidays, there are certain things that will kill a small group if not addressed. Bill offers several tips here in dealing with them before they come up.
For a group to end is part of the natural life cycle of any small group. In this video, Bill offers tips on how to make sure that your group ends well and in a way that everyone will enjoy.
Building relationships with each other should be a goal for any small group. Making connections is not always easy, but these tips are helpful for encouraging those connections to be made, even during group meeting time.
In addition to making connections within group time, more can be done to continue building these relationships even outside of the group meeting. In this video, Bill offers some tips on what this could look like for you and your group.
Relationships are the bridge that allows truth to be shared, and for small groups, sharing truth is of utmost importance. As a leader, it is your job to be mindful of this as the group develops and grows and to encourage members to be authentic throughout the process.
Part of your job as a small group leader will be to facilitate good group discussions. These four specific tips encourage you to be mindful of the goal, start with icebreakers, encourage members to be honest, and stay on course, but be willing to be flexible as the discussion develops.
Part of having a great discussion is being able to ask good questions. Being familiar with the material ahead of time and asking open-ended questions are a couple of tips Bill offers in making the most of your group conversations.
Actively listening to the person who is talking in a group discussion is key to showing them that they and their thoughts are valuable to the group. As a leader, focusing on this will be beneficial to the growth of your group.
One characteristic of a small group is the prayer time at the end of the meeting. Leaving adequate time, setting guidelines and making notes are a few of the things that will help make the most of this time for your group.
A goal of small groups is to help people in their walk to become more like Christ. In this video, Bill offers some suggestions on how you can encourage that growth during your small group time.
In addition to the growth that takes place within your group meetings, this can be carried over and experienced outside of the group time as well. Attending church regularly, praying often and looking into additional bible study resources are among the ways this can be encouraged.
Small group curriculum is a tool designed to help your group grow to become more like Jesus - it's not a checklist of questions that need to be answered perfectly. When you are using curriculum, it is important to be prayerful and familiar with it prior to group meetings.
People aren't perfect and sometimes these challenging personalities can come out during group discussions. As a leader, it is important to be mindful of this and know how to handle them.
Sometimes members in your group will need to be confronted about a particular problem or issue that arises. If this is the case, as the leader it is your goal to confront them in the most caring manner possible. This video offers tips on how you can do that well.
A primary goal of every small group should be to cultivate the hearts of members for others outside of the group - creating missional hearts. Here are a few ways that you as a leader can encourage your group in this pursuit outside of the group time.
New group leaders often emerge when existing leaders find them. As the leader of your group, be on the lookout for certain traits and characteristics in people that might point towards good future leadership.
After you have identified what people in your group have potential for leadership, it also becomes your job to help develop those leadership skills. This can be as easy as encouraging what you see in them or giving them chances at responsibility.
While being an important part of the group, developing and maintaining a mission heart can also be the hardest part. As a leader, you can be paying attention to certain signs that are outlined in this video that will help you assess the missional pattern of your group.
In your quest for your group to see the world as God sees it, having a missional attitude will be key. There are numerous things you, as a leader, can do during the group meeting time that will help cultivate and grow this heart in your members.
Who does what? how do we manage the group? How do we keep people safe? these are all the 'box of tricks' of running a group.
Along with the course suggestions, we provide Presentation slides and other helps.