How Leading a Team is a Lot Like Cross-Country

I was never very good at cross-country in high school. Any time my picture was taken during a race, I looked like I was passing a kidney stone or had been kicked in the face repeatedly. I may never have won a race, but did learn a thing or two about running one. In any race, you have to pace yourself. You can’t sprint the entire time and must know when to push a little harder and when to rest. It’s the same with leading a great group or team. There’s a time to plant and push and a time to ...

The Best Part of Leading a Group

I remember this past fall, peering around the room at my new small group. I wondered how well this group was going to go. Yes, I’d been through this many times before, but sometimes you wonder if this is the group that just won’t click. Connection was slow the first few weeks, but people consistently came. Everything was fine but not necessarily great. That is, until the night we began to talk about family. As I asked a question about how our family has influenced who we are today, one of my group members took a deep breath and said ...

The Marriage Challenge

Maybe you always thought the first marriage was a match made in heaven. You thought Adam and Eve were a picture of perfection in paradise. For a time that may have been true. But then, as they disobeyed God, and sin began to infect everyone and everything- something happened. Adam and Eve had marriage problems. Adam blamed Eve for eating the forbidden fruit. But, when Eve was faced with great temptation, Adam was nowhere to be found. They were selfish, only worrying about themselves in front of God. And as both Adam and Eve listened to voices other than God, their relationship ...

How Size Matters, Part 2: House Size

Our Groups are Too Small? A few years ago I was at conference talking about groups and the lead church proposed that larger groups, made up of 30-50 people, on mission together, could be more effective than smaller groups of 10-15. As they explained this idea, I agreed with a lot of the things they were saying but I knew we had a huge problem! The host church was situated in a more affluent part of the state with bigger houses that could fit 30-50 people. I live in an older area with a little smaller, post World War 2 ...

An Equation to Determine Group Health

Below are some numbers you can use after people sign up for your group to determine if you have enough people. (You may not know the people who signed up for your group, but may be able to work with your group coach or staff to see if others may know them.)   Here's an equation you can use to calculate your potential group health. (Include yourself) For each committed couple you have in your group give yourself: 3 points For each committed individual (not couple) you have in your group, give yourself: 2 points For each non-committed couple you have in your group ...

How Size Matters, Part 1: Group Size

Do Numbers Matter? Typically we say an ideal small group consists of 10-15 people. Less than that can sometimes feel awkward and more can feel overwhelming. But, what if the number doesn't matter at all? I believe there are two things that affect group health more than how many people attend on a weekly basis. Expectations I’ve had groups in the past where only a few people signed up and so had to help the group navigate through what to do. I realized what mattered most was people’s expectations of how many people “should” be in the group in order ...

Group Stressors: Food

Something special happens when people eat together. You relax and sometimes laugh. It gives your group something common to talk about so you can say things like, “Man, this is good, how’d you make this?” If nothing else, it gives you a way to hide awkward conversational silence. But, there’s no way around it, having dinner at small group is stressful! I think it’s most helpful to remember that there are no rules a group has to follow when it comes to eating. It is helpful to offer something. People will relax and open up easier as a group if they’re ...

5 Fun Icebreaker Games

The group that laughs together, stays together. Icebreakers are especially important over the first few weeks after a group starts. Games that help people get to know others in the group also help build connections in the group, which helps people feel like they belong. Here's 5 games I like to use: 1. M&M Game Supplies Needed: A bag of M&M’s Pass around a bowl of M&M’s and ask everyone to take out 5. Each color of M&M represents something they need to share about themselves. Red: Something you do well Brown: Ways you relax Green: Goals you have Yellow: ...

Group Stressors: Babysitting

Few things can add more stress to a group than babysitting. As a parent, you’re trying to savor a few moments of quality adult interaction, when suddenly your 2 year old appears in the room crying loudly. Game over. Then there’s the whole collecting money for baby-sitting thing. There’s that one family who never pays and as a group leader you seem to always have to give more than your fair share. How can we make babysitting less stressful? Start at the beginning On your first night of group, talk about babysitting. Explain how it works, how much to give, ...

15 Questions Every Person Asks When Joining a Small Group

Signing up for a group for the first time can be intimidating. As group leaders, it's our job to help people feel comfortable attending group for the first time. Here's an idea of what could be going through someone's head after signing up for a group. I just signed up for a group. Oh no, what did I just do? Should I go? Maybe I'll start next week? What about next semester? I've never been in a group before and have no idea what to expect? Everyone's going to know I'm new and I'll probably do something stupid. Why am I ...

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