Small groups


Acts 2:42

  • Explore the Bible and their faith together
  • Build strong relationships with one another
  • Offer each other support and encouragement on their faith journey
  • Deeper community and accountability



What happens in small group stays in small group

People often share extremely personal information in small groups. This is generally a good thing, as it builds bonds and helps leaders in the discipleship of their community. However, this can go awry if people share this confidential information. Even if the information is not used for gossip, it still can make members reticent to talk about their challenges and other personal information. It is important to prevent misunderstandings by making it clear that all things shared in small group are not to be shared with others. What’s said at a group meeting stays at the meeting unless permission is given to share it elsewhere. Confidentiality might be the most important ground rule because without a culture of safety and trust, honest conversation is impossible.


Everyone gets a turn

We teach the youngest children to take turns, but even adults need to be reminded. It is important that no one in your small group community dominate conversation and also that every share their thoughts. If you have members who are more comfortable sharing when not in face to face discussions, consider getting a program such as StudyChurch. This allows more introverted members to contribute in ways they find more comfortable and also lets people who came unprepared get a chance to review material before weighing in. To make a small group work, everyone needs to participate as a listener and as a speaker with more time on the former than the latter. If one person dominates the meeting, the host/leader might say, “Let’s hear from someone else now.” When another person has remained quiet for a long time, the host/leader might ask, “John, do you have anything you’d like to share?” Limit your sharing to a few minutes, mindful that others have something to offer. Use “I” statements to keep your sharing focused on your own thoughts and feelings.


Don’t take disagreements personally

The most fruitful small groups often involve lively debate. However, this requires disagreement. Group members should be prepared to disagree in a polite and constructive way. The flip side of this is that they should be open to hearing people disagree with them. Doing this in a polite way is not just a great way to learn about different interpretations of God’s Word, but practice for success in real life as well. Refrain from cross talk. Cross talk is when one person comments on what another person says or attempts to engage that person in conversation during the group meeting. That’s a normal part of everyday conversation but not so helpful in the small group experience. Each person should feel free to express his or her feelings without concerns about interruptions or commentary. Responses to what someone else has said should be limited to clarifying questions.


Respect each others’ time.

There is a reason people are angered when others are late; if it happens often, it implies that the latecomer does not respect other people’s time. Similarly, forcing group to stay late shows a lack of respect for time. People in the modern world have a variety of commitments, so respect their time by always beginning and ending on time.


Do unto others

The Golden Rule is one of the most important rules for all interaction. It’s important that members use common courtesy and show respect for each other. Everyone should feel respected and heard in a community of their brothers and sisters in Christ. Mind your manners. Opening up can be hard enough as it is. To make your group a welcoming place for all, avoid dismissing others’ reflections, refrain from laughing at what others share, and steer clear of putdowns or language that would make someone uncomfortable or offended.


No fixing

We are here to support one another, not “fix” each other. Often people just need to be heard. Do not give advice unless it is requested. When someone shares something painful, you can offer compassion, understanding, and concern rather than a solution.


Silence is ok

There’s no need to fill the air with words. Allow time for quiet until someone is moved to speak.