Home Small Group Leaders Small Group Leaders How To's Create an Affirming Environment for Your Small Group

Create an Affirming Environment for Your Small Group

Creating an environment of affirmation opens the door to deeper conversation, authenticity, creativity, synergy, and a list of other vital forces that drive a healthy small group. Not only that, creating an environment of affirmation will diminish the amount of gossip, negativity, and intense conflict a group experiences. It’s not difficult to create an environment of affirmation, but it does demand a leader be proactive and never miss an opportunity to affirm. Ken Blanchard, the great leadership guru, once described how to become an affirming person and create an environment of affirmation. He said, “Catch people doing something right then tell them.” That’s all there is to it.

A few tips:
 
·      – Be an affirmer before, during, after, and between meetings.

·      – Notice the little achievements and voice words of congratulations to the right people at the right time. When is that?…anytime, anywhere. 

·      – Take note of accomplishments at work, home, on the ball field, golf course, etc…and verbalize “at-a-boys” whenever possible.

·      – Never use moments of affirmation to teach. Don’t use the word ‘but’ to transition to evaluation. For instance, never say something like, “I really liked how you led the Bible study tonight, but if you’d told them what Jesus said in chapter 15, that would’ve made it even better.” Remember this…The word ‘but’ after a word of affirmation erases everything that was said prior to the word ‘but’ being voiced.

·      – E-mail, Twitter, and text message words of affirmation. This allows the person receiving them to look back at them again and again. 
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rhowerton@churchleaders.com'
Rick has one passion… To see “a biblical small group within walking distance of every person on the planet making disciples that make disciples.” He is presently pursuing this passion as the Small Group and Discipleship Specialist at LifeWay Church Resources. Rick has authored or co-authored multiple books, studies, and leader training resources including A Different Kind of Tribe: Embracing the New Small Group Dynamic, Destination Community: Small Group Ministry Manual, The Gospel and the Truth: Living the Message of Jesus, Small Group Life Ministry Manual: A New Approach to Small Groups, Redeeming the Tears: a Journey Through Grief and Loss, Small Group Life: Kingdom, Small Group Kickoff Retreat: Experiential Training for Small Group Leaders, and Great Beginnings: Your First Small Group Study, Disciples Path: A Practical Guide to Disciple Making. Rick’s varied ministry experiences as an collegiate minister, small group pastor, teaching pastor, elder, full-time trainer and church consultant, as well as having been a successful church planter gives him a perspective of church life that is all-encompassing and multi-dimensional. Rick is a highly sought after communicator and trainer.