What every small group member wants to know
Your small group has been up and running now for several weeks. How’s it going? If you feel like the honeymoon is over and you’ve hit some rocky times, don’t be surprised — you’ve entered the “transition stage.” Among other things, you and other small-group members may be coming to group gatherings with some questions like these:
Is this group worth the time and effort? Many things may underlie this question. It’s time to listen carefully. And be honest: is this group a worthwhile time investment? Why or why not?
Is it relevant? The first few weeks of school have created a new reality for you and other group members. They want real help integrating Scripture into their lives.
Are the group leaders modeling genuine faith? Leading isn’t about looking good; it’s about being honest and guiding people into grace-filled lives. Are you growing as a person in this community? Does your group know your struggles?
Is there a place for me here? Every person in the group is looking for genuine fellowship. Are all the members accepted and cared for by the group? Do their contributions indicate that they believe they have something to offer?
Is the group remaining faithful to its initial promises? Review your initial purposes and your “ground rules.” Is the group delivering on what people were initially invited to be a part of? Are people annoyed by lax commitment to starting and ending times or by other dynamics that distract the group from its reason for being?
Is the group well led? Is there true discussion, or is the group dominated by a few people? Do the leaders help the group address issues that arise? Are the discussion leaders able to help the group stay on track and help pull the discussion back from tangents?
During a time of transition, a leader’s best posture is to be warm, affirming, listening and non-defensive. The same is true for other group members. Let the group “talk to itself,” and allow time for the Lord to speak to the group.