By Steve Gladen
Creating the right environment for a meaningful small group will make a big difference on each person. To achieve this, you’ll need to find the balance between overpreparing and underpreparing. Overpreparation, although it may seem beneficial, will actually end up stifling group conversation because you simply know all the answers. Underpreparing will give others the impression that you don’t know what you’re doing and the small group is bound to get a little chaotic.
Here are five ways to prepare for a great small group time.
1. Start your preparation by praying for your small group.
The most important ingredient to a great small group meeting is God working in the lives of your group members. Because of this, praying for your small group isn’t just a formality. It’s a key ingredient into the health and growth of your small group. Pray for their spiritual growth, their personal needs, the bonds of your small group, the way the Lord will move throughout each individual member’s life, and their hearts in that. The Bible says that we have not because we ask not, so ask God to do great things.
2. Communicate with your group throughout the week.
Remind your group about your meetings. Make sure it is clear to each of your members the day, time, and place that you will meet. You can also remind them about the subject matter you will cover. This allows each group member to spend time thinking about the topic before attending small group which helps conversation to be much deeper and more meaningful. Let your group know you’re thinking and praying for them throughout the week. Use your communication to remind your group that they’re important to you.
3. Don’t do all the work yourself.
Look for ways to delegate responsibility to those in your group to take pressure off your shoulders and involve others in your group. When you do all the work, people feel like it’s your group. When you let others share in the work, it becomes our group. Remember to share the load and give ownership to everyone.
4. Review the teaching content ahead of the meeting.
Familiarize yourself with the discussion topic and questions before the group arrives so that you’re better equipped to guide conversation throughout the course of your small group. This is an area to be wary of overpreparing. Your role isn’t to be the teacher but to be the facilitator. Remember that the more you talk, the less the group gets to participate and grow.
5. Pray again.
Prayer will not only yield fruit in the lives of your group members, but it will also grow your heart as well. Prayer is never a waste. Pray for each individual, for openness and safety in the group, and that the Lord would move in powerful ways.
These five steps may be out of your comfort zone or your routine, but take a risk and see how the Lord works through your small group.