Churches have a lot of sayings when it comes to groups. Things like “we do life together” or “growth happens in groups. “ But how do we back those statements up and put our money where our mouth is? Here are three things you can do to support your groups well.
1. Organically plug small groups during sermons.
We say this a lot – the messages on Sunday are important, but real-life change often happens in groups. We were meant to live in community, and not just on Sunday mornings. As you plan your messages, sprinkle in a few questions that can be discussed in a small group.
If you can, have one of your team members put together a resource that small group leaders can use to tie the week’s message into whatever curriculum they are using. Even if it’s just a few questions. Occasionally, plan a message series with a specific small group curriculum that can tie into it, weaving the two together.
Sunday Storytellers makes it easier than ever to continue the conversation from the Sunday morning service in groups with Group Guides for every week of a series.
Check out an example of a sermon-based Group Guide from an Easter series following the Last Steps of Jesus on earth leading to the Cross. Or become a Sunday Storytellers partner below!
As a pastor, you can lead your congregation, but you cannot personally support every single member. That’s what small groups are for. Support for the groups must come from the top down. Ask small group leaders what sort of topics their groups are drawn to. Are those topics something you can weave into a message series? You have the chance to influence the culture of your congregation by emphasizing community every Sunday.
2. Groups break down generational gaps.
Groups don’t have to be solitary. It is important that church members of all ages and life stages and situations come together.
Plan events, worship nights, or service projects where small groups of all different types can get together and enjoy fellowship. Find ways that different small groups can serve one another. For example, maybe a youth small group can volunteer to offer child care to another small group. Each group is a small part of your congregation, and the more you offer places for them to mingle, the more unity you will see across the entire church.
3. Small Group Leaders grow your church.
Small Group leaders are amazing. We all know this. They give their time and often their personal spaces just so they can love and minister to others. So the best thing you can do to support groups is to support your leaders!
Empower them by offering training and regular support from staff members. If possible, create a system where each group leader has a person on staff or at least a high level volunteer (i.e. elder, deacon, or leadership team) that they can reach out to for prayer and support. Have that staff member or leader reach out on a weekly basis.
Celebrate your group leaders by planning events just for them. Leading a group can take a huge amount of time and energy, so anytime you can acknowledge this and give them a space to feel appreciated, do so!
Allow your group leaders to have some say in the types of group curriculum that are selected. They are a crucial part of the ministry of your church. They are the ones actively facilitating discipleship. They are spending time with individual members of your congregation, so chances are, they have their fingers on the pulse of what is going on.
No matter what, show your church that groups are one of the best parts of the Church – because it’s true!
Emily Towns, Staff Writer, Paper Giants