Medium sized groups are the most difficult to cultivate, but can be the most rewarding to those participating.
How do you go about starting a medium sized group?
1. Start with three people
The core of a healthy group is three people who assume three roles:
Leader, Assistant Leader, and Host. The names are less important than the roles.
The Leader is the designated point person who plans and facilitates the gathering. The Assistant Leader helps the Leader by leading the group in the absence of the Leader and generally supporting the group by supporting the efforts of the Leader. The Assistant Leader may be someone who is not ready to lead their own group and is gaining experience, or someone who is experienced at leading and can be especially helpful to someone who is new at leading a group. The Leader and Assistant Leader will typically touch base offline to discuss the needs of the group. The Host is responsible for the location and set up, including refreshments when appropriate, and takes attendance. The Host can also help or be responsible for communicating dates and times and other details.
2. Read or View. Share. Pray. Do.
- Read: Healthy groups have something to discuss, usually something read, but can also discuss videos, visual art, music, etc. Read (or experience) it together.
- Share: Healthy groups leave room for personal sharing. Leaders can encourage healthy listening by urging the use of “I” statements and avoiding what is sometimes called “cross-talk” - speaking when others are speaking, interrupting, or giving advice.
- Pray: Even a brief moment of silent prayer is worth its weight in gold. If you are inclined, pray for each other.
- Do: Have a project that serves outside of the group. Plan it. Keep it simple. Send someone a meal, clean someone’s yard, or volunteer somewhere together.
Healthy groups start and end on time. Healthy groups also meet for a defined number of meetings and then take time away to refresh, recommit, or re-evaluate their involvement. Healthy groups choose to travel a particular distance of their journey together. They reach their destination (6 weeks or 12 weeks, for example) then take a break before starting again. Among others benefits, doing so encourages new groups to form.
Medium sized groups are the most difficult to cultivate, but can be the most rewarding to be a part of. These are key guidelines which will help you start.
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