Part two offered some advice on cultivating medium sized groups. Read it here.
This final part of our series on gathering gives nine tips for leading a life group. Put them to use and start your own!
- Start the party before the party starts. People are apprehensive when they arrive, especially when they don’t know what to expect. Be ready to start 10 minutes before your start time - food, music, chairs, lights - all in place. By doing so, you are saying, “I’m glad you’re here.”
- End on time. Nothing is more deadly than a group that never ends… every week.
- Ask open ended questions. Open ended questions cannot be answered with one word (yes, no, maybe). Ask questions that start with ‘how’ and ‘why.’ A favorite question of mine is, “What did you notice when…?”
- Pray for one another. However you want to do it, but do it. Aloud together, share requests then pray in silence. Regardless of what you ‘believe’ about prayer. Even if God doesn’t listen or can’t intervene, praying for one another is one of the great gifts of life together.
- Call each other during the week. Agree upfront to check in with each other. Give each other the permission to keep calls short. The accumulative connecting adds up.
- Celebrate often… big things and little things. Celebrate everything. Cakes or compliments. Whatever works.
- Address a felt need immediately. Sometimes a need is expressed that can be met immediately. When this happens, meet the need, immediately. Someone breaks down while sharing a prayer request? Pray for them immediately. Be willing to throw out the “agenda” to meet a need.
- Help challenging people offline. Someone in the group is going to try your patience. They will say too much, listen too little, laugh to hard (or too little). For reasons that everyone can see or only you, they annoy you. First, remember YOU are that person to someone else. Next, address them directly outside of the group time. More often than not, doing so will engender empathy and help your group. Doing otherwise is toxic.
- Give it away. Whatever “goodness” you receive from your group cannot be held on to, kept, or saved up. It must be given away. That’s God’s economy. “Your” group will not last forever. Give it away. Invite someone. Launch another group.