So you started a new group. You’ve overcome your fears. You’ve gone where you’ve never gone before. And now — believe it or not — you’re enjoying your new friends and looking forward to your next meeting. Who knew that could really happen!
The question is, what do you need to do right now to keep your new group going? And beyond going, how can you make it even better?
Here are 6 key steps you can take right now:
1. Ask your church (your pastor or coach) for a recommended follow-up study. Be sure and choose a study to do next that is similar in format to what you’re using right now. Caution: When your group is brand new, it’s always a good idea to offer the recommended study as the next step. Once your new group is more established, you can ask the group for requests or suggestions.
2. Ask your group members if there’s anyone they’d like to invite to join the group. The easiest time to add new members is when you’re beginning a new study. Also, it’s much easier for new people to fit in when the group is still forming. Once it’s established (meeting longer than 3 to 4 months) it will become increasingly more difficult for new people to connect.
3. Take advantage of the new study to invite group members to share the responsibilities of the group. Group members can take turns facilitating discussion, keep track of prayer requests, organize the refreshment calendar, etc. Note: “One Man Shows” are challenging to sustain. In addition, they aren’t nearly as satisfying to members as shared ownership.
4. If you meet off-campus, consider inviting an additional member or two to host a group meeting in their home(s). Note: Groups that can meet in more than one location are more enduring and can meet more consistently.
5. Consider reviewing the group’s covenant or agreement whenever you begin a new study or add new members. The values and expectations you agreed to in the beginning can be renewed and refreshed as you continue.
6. Plan a party or a potluck to celebrate continuing! Building in fun and food is always a good idea. Instead of pressing on with a new study immediately, consider planning an opportunity to celebrate your new friendships. It’s almost always easier to invite potential new members to join you for a Mexican fiesta or pizza party and game night.