Here is a letter I just sent out to our Community Group leaders about our new groups and our new trial format. I always like seeing internal documents from other churches so here you go. Cut and paste as you please...
Dear Leader / Co-Leader
This coming week a new semester of Community Groups begins. I am excited about what God is going to do as diverse people come together and open up in community. Thank you for stepping up and helping to facilitate these groups as they help people take their next steps with God. I hope the following letter will help you sharpen your group leading skills and answer any questions you might have about the new format.
Adults (Brian & Cheryl Moon) 2nd & 4th Tuesdays
7pm @ the Suncoast Crossings Starbucks
Adults (Woltmann’s & Leblanc’s) 2nd & 4th Wednesdays
7pm @ the Warehouse
Adults (Linda & McCauley’s) 2nd & 4th Thursday’s
7pm @ the Warehouse
Students (Brian) 2nd & 4th Sunday Nights
6:30pm @ the Warehouse
As you can see we have changed the scheduling of the groups. We are having two “scheduled” gatherings a month on the 2nd & 4th weeks. But, on the other two weeks the idea is to do something optional that is either totally fun and fellowship based or outreach based like doing some kind of servant evangelism or community project. The “optional” events will not be announced to the whole church and the people in the groups don’t need to feel obligated to attend. Some ideas might be dinner and a movie, dinner out, dinner at someone’s house, picnic at the park, go to a Rays game… you get the idea.
We felt like one of the stumbling blocks for more people getting plugged into groups was the every week time commitment. So we are giving this a try for a semester to see how it goes.
Improving Your Group
I don’t pretend to be an expert on groups but here are some tools I have picked up from 15+ years of group life.
Be yourself and keep it loose
One of the tendencies we all have when we are uncomfortable in a setting is to shut down our personalities and start talking in a monotone. Don’t do that! Let your personality out, laugh, take a chance, keep the group loose. If people feel your discomfort they will be uncomfortable.
Don’t be afraid of silence
BUT keep the conversation going
When you throw a question out there chances are you have been thinking about an answer but for everyone else it will require some thought. Don’t be afraid of a little silence as they think. BUT, you can also keep the conversation going by asking the question again or asking it in a different way. Keep the flow of the group going until you hit a question that sparks some real conversation.
Spend time connecting with the shy people
You are going to have outgoing people and more reserved people. The outgoing people will more than likely flock together and be talking up a storm. Find the groups “outsiders” and spend some time getting to know them one on one. They may feel more comfortable with you than a half dozen strangers.
Look for ways to give the group away
Constantly be looking for ways to get others in the group to step up. It might be bringing snacks next time, planning the fun event, or even leading portions of the discussion. Raise up the next generation of group leaders.
If you have an questions let me know – firstname.lastname@example.org