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Starting a Small Group: Step 1

I have recently made a significant transition in my life. If you follow my personal blog at frankchiapperino.com, you know I’ve moved from being a Teaching Pastor at Christ’s Church of the Valley to accepting a position as Senior Pastor at Hope Summit Christian Church. One of the things I miss dearly about my time in Pennsylvania is my small group. We laughed together, cried together, even celebrated and mourned together. Going through a transition like a cross-country move definitely shows you the things you value when you miss something you though you would always have.

However, it doesn’t have to end there. New relationships can form, new bonds can be developed, and more lives can be changed. As a Senior Pastor, I think it is important that my church hear directly from me the value of group ministry. They should see me live out the expectation that life should be lived in community instead of alone. To demonstrate that to my church, and also to meet a need for myself and my family, it is essential we begin this journey again!

So here we go, starting a small group from scratch. We’ve done it before; I just don’t think I’ve ever documented how I get started. This will be a series of posts that you can follow as we actually get going with our new group. So here is STEP 1…


It really isn’t that complicated, but you’ve got to go into leadership of any kind prepared. When starting a group I really see three categories for preparation.

1 – Time: When and how often will your group meet?
I had an intentional discussion with my wife about when we could fit the group meeting into our family schedule. For us, it ended up working best midweek and meeting weekly. Personally, I think groups function best on a weekly schedule. It provides greater opportunities for accountability and consistent spiritual growth. However, that doesn’t mean groups that meet every other week are ineffective. I’ve actually seen biweekly groups thrive with the right leader in place.

2 – Location: Where will your group meet?
We love hosting our group but not everyone shares our opinion. For some, hosting is a TREMENDOUS cause of stress. Getting a location nailed down is essential prior to getting started. Especially since you want to make things easy for the group and for new members to join. Having ONE consistent location is going to be essential to getting your group up and running.

3 – Purpose: What is the purpose of your group and who is it for?
Groups meet for all sorts of reasons: some are more social, some are based on affinity, others are purely meeting for a very regimented Bible study. We decided our group was for couples, and it was going to be social and study oriented. As a leader, you have to be able to clearly articulate your purpose. Otherwise, you may end up with people in your group that have unmet expectations. When that happens, you are setting yourself up for conflict, so try to ensure people know why you’re gathering before they decide to join you on your journey!

I’ll post again soon, so you get to hear about each step in our process as our new small group gets going…