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Small Groups Mark@2X

How to start your small group

  • Ask God for direction about what group to lead and who to invite.
  • Once you decide on a topic or activity for your group, choose a place and time to meet.
  • Register your group in the online Small Groups Finder so people can find it and contact you to attend. (Registration opens the day after the previous semester ends. The Finder opens three weeks prior to the start of the semester.)
  • Invite people you know or meet to come check out your group.
  • Pray for God to do great things through your Small Group.

The importance of prayer

Prayer is the foundation of our church, and it is important for your Small Group.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14

How to pray for your group

  • Pray for any requests group members share.
  • Ask for the presence of the Holy Spirit in your group.
  • Pray that God will reveal Himself to each participant personally.
  • Pray for an authentic community to develop.
  • Pray for wisdom and strength to lead your group well.

Preparing for your group meetings

  • Send a message to group participants reminding them about the first meeting.
  • Arrive early to set up a welcoming environment.
  • Consider using nametags to help everyone learn names for the first few weeks.
  • Consider having snacks.


Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your hearts. Proverbs 27:23

People in your group will be at different places in their spiritual lives and each person will have different next steps to take. Here is a guide of some next steps you can help people take:

  • Start attending Weekend Services
  • Start reading the Bible regularly
  • Start praying regularly
  • Be water baptized
  • Complete the Next Move
  • Join a Go Team
  • Lead a Small Group
  • Go on a mission trip
  • Start tithing
  • Start attending First Wednesday services
  • Start attending Saturday morning prayer services
  • Invite a friend or neighbor to church or a Small Group


  1. Consider partnering with a co-leader to help share the responsibility of caring for and leading your group.
  2. Connect with the group participants outside of group time through phone, email, text, social media, or face-to-face. Encourage your group to connect with each other throughout the week too.
  3. Have fun through laughter and by creating an enjoyable environment.
  4. Respect people’s time by beginning and ending your group on time.
  5. Invite your group to attend church services and events like First Wednesday with you.
  6. Rally the group around a participant going through a crisis. Use wisdom and be sensitive


  • Set clear expectations. A key to helping people feel comfortable in your group is to let them know what to expect. Take time to share how the group will flow from week to week. This can include things like explaining the times you will begin and end the group how discussion or group activities will happen, and you can share prayer requests or best engage in the group.
  • Follow the 70/30 rule. Give the members of your group room to speak up instead of doing all the talking yourself. About 70% of talking should come from the group and 30% (or less) from the leader.
  • Keep the discussion positive. If a conversation takes a negative or destructive turn, guide it back to a healthy place. If someone needs to talk about a sensitive or complex issue, you can follow up with them after the group of call your coach to help you respond well.
  • Keep the conversation relevant to everyone. Remember people in your group will be at different places spiritually. Be thoughtful when you talk about spiritual concepts or church terms that might be unfamiliar to new Christians or new church-goers.
  • Respect boundaries. Men should minister to men and women to women. A couple may minister to a single person. We want to maintain integrity and purity in our Small Groups. These boundaries will help protect the leaders and group participants from entering into an uncomfortable or inappropriate situation.


If you only do what you feel comfortable doing, you don’t need God. God’s best is often found outside your comfort zone.

When you serve God and people by leading a Small Group, He will equip you and give you the strength and wisdom to lead well.

When you feel uncertain about leading a group, use Scripture to overcome the lies of the enemy:

  1. When you feel like you don’t have the time, remember God has created you for this, and His timing is perfect.

If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.

Ecclesiastes 11:4 TLB

  1. When you feel unqualified, remember God has equipped you.

It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God. He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant.

2 Corinthians 3:5-6 NLT

  1. When you feel like your past disqualifies you, remember God uses imperfect people.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4