This might be one of my most frequently asked questions. And it’s actually a very good question.
How often should our small group meet?
There are at least three important considerations:
First, keep in mind that especially when your group is just starting out, frequency is very important. I suggest that new groups meet weekly because if someone misses a meeting it will only be two weeks between meetings. If you only meet twice a month and someone misses a meeting, it will be a month between meetings.
Second, keep in mind that consistency plays a major role in connection. Lyman Coleman pointed out over 20 years ago that six weeks is short enough for unconnected people to commit to and long enough for them to begin to establish a connection. I’ve found that the stronger connective tissue that holds groups together is formed in weeks 7 to 12. New groups that make it into their third six week have the best chance of forming an enduring connection. See also, 8 Commitments for Small Group Leaders
Third, keep in mind that the meeting itself plays a very small part in how men and women become like Jesus. Whether you meet weekly or twice a month, it is those purposeful conversations over coffee or a meal or dessert that have the greatest potential. It can be as simple as a text message or Facebook comment or as complicated as sitting in silence in a hospital waiting room. Real connection grows in between meetings. See also, 8 Habits of a Life-Changing Small Group Leader.
The most frequent responses to my three considerations?
- People’s lives are too busy to commit to meeting weekly (let alone connecting between meetings). This is true almost everywhere. Your community is not unique. Making disciples requires recalibration. The right toe-in-the-water, a simple test-drive, is often enough to give them the taste they need to begin. This is one of the reasons a church-wide campaign works so well. See also, 5 Keys to Getting Everyone to Join a Group.
- People are too busy with other church commitments to commit to meeting weekly. This is true almost everywhere. If you want to make disciples you need to clarify the minimum and recommended dose.
What do you think? Have a question? Want to argue? You can click here to jump into the conversation.