Some churches make the mistake of having a one-size-fits-all group mentality. The problem with this is that if you only have one type of small group at your church, you are automatically excluding people from being a part of what you are doing in group ministry. Many people have different learning styles and even different social styles. Some like large groups (20-40), some like smaller groups (6-15), and some like even smaller accountability/transformation groups (2-3). By offering groups of different sizes and types, you can attract many types of people to get involved. The smaller the group, the less anonymous someone can be, and the intensity of the spiritual growth increases.
I would also encourage group leaders to define the type of group they are leading. For example, at our church we have the following classifications:
Home Teams – By far the most popular, these are groups that are just as social as they are spiritual. They meet at least twice a month, discuss the Bible and do fun activities together year-round.
Explore Groups – These groups are short term groups (6-12 weeks) that meet weekly to study the Bible or a designated topic from a Biblical perspective.
Restore Groups – These are groups that are focused on helping people recover and cope with challenges associated with addictions and co-dependency.
By organizing the focus of what a leader is trying to do, we can help them be more effective. Doing this also helps those trying to get connected with others that have similar interests and needs. When this happens, we increase the chances for ongoing participation and real life change. I love it when people tell me that their small group feels like home!