Monday, March 10, 2014

Small Group 101: How to Balance It All

After the first post in this series I got an awesome question that I really  thought would best be answered in a blog post. I think it's a great question and concern many of us face when considering adding something else to our ever busy calendars.

Her question:
This sounds awesome. We have small groups at my church as well. I've never started one though because I think I'm already involved in so many things it can be overwhelming. How do you balance the group with everything else? -Neisha

I love this question! Mostly because busyness is something I wrestle with, hence this post. Busyness can be a serious crutch we lean on. It's our excuse when we don't feel like stepping out on a limb and trusting our God. It's our default when we're not sure we want to put another thing into our schedules, even when it's something God is tugging on our hearts to do.

So my first suggestion is simple,  stop the excuse. 

My second suggestion, figure out your priorities. Do you have a group of people you fellowship with already? People that know your heart, people you discuss what you're learning, people who know your prayer requests? If not, then make it a priority. God calls us to be with people. He gave us people to commune with, to share life with. People are a gift from the sweet Jesus, He created friendships for a reason! 

So let's do it- full of belief, confident that we're presentable inside and out. Let's keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps His word. Let's see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big DAY approaching. - Hebrews 10:25 (the message)

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. -Proverbs 21:17

Therefore encourage one another, and build one another up, just as you are doing. -1 Thess. 5:11

"For where to or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them" - Matt. 18:20

Thirdly, keep it simple. Starting up a small group doesn't mean you're all of a sudden going to be the most awesome "Sunday school" teacher. Realize your role. Your role is to lead a group of people into fellowship with one another. That doesn't have to be hard. It doesn't have to take up a lot of time. And you don't have to write your own lessons. Unless you feel called to that then certainly by all means, go for it. There are tons of great studies already written for you to use! They're full of readings, video messages, discussion questions... and they're super easy for you to lead from. It takes a lot of pressure off of you if you allow someone else, the author of the study, to do the primary teaching. From there you ask questions,  most often given, and discussion thrives from there. And realize, God's got you! He'll give you the words to say, if you give him your heart and trust.

Finally, schedule accordingly. Adding another requirement to your week can be overwhelming at first.  I totally get that.  So schedule accordingly. Is there a certain week night that is better fit for your family than the traditional Wednesday night? Or do you even need to meet every week? Our group meets every other week, on Friday nights at 8pm. This has worked well for us for many reasons. Everyone is ready for the weekend by then and are often relaxed, and less likely to miss it. 

Doing every other week has allowed for us to have "breaks" for other events or for traveling as well. The off weeks also allow for fun events for our group. They've done game nights often together on those off nights or we plan other activities. But those off weeks are generally planned by someone else in the group which takes some work off of us. Figuring out the day of the week and the time is huge, and really the hardest part. Bite your lip, pick a date and give it a try! You can adjust as you learn the people in your group and see what does and doesn't work.

For us, doing it every other week is what saves us. Kevin and I volunteer at the college ministry every Tuesday night. For our life right now, it's best for us to have one weekly requirement and a separate biweekly requirement on our schedules. 

Bottom line,
How do you balance a group with everything else?
you make it a priority.

*Photos in the post by the wonderful Anna from Birds&Coffee 

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  1. Amen!! love this post and the pictures are beautiful!! This week I have really been thinking about my priorities and am I keeping them straight. I believe it's a question we all need to ask ourselves every once in a while. :)

  2. Friday night is such a good idea! It's funny, to me the 'traditional' day is a Tuesday as all small groups I've attended were then, and even now in Germany, both in Cologne and here, it's Tuesdays :) And you're so right... one of my pet peeves is when people say they don't have time for something, which is very often true, but so often one doesn't just 'have' time, one has to 'make' it.

  3. I agree but at the same time there is a very fine line here as women often say yes to everything and ministry ends up becoming an idol or a distraction from our relationship with God because we've made ourselves SO busy "serving Him" thinking it's a good thing that we suddenly aren't spending time with Him. I think everyone needs to be accountable and in the word in fellowship in some form, but not everyone will be able to lead, etc,

  4. I can't tell you how much I needed this post. I just started a life group at our church, and I'm struggling so hard with anxiety. We've not met yet, but it just makes me so nervous that I won't give them what they deserve.

    I know I can do it---and this post just reminded me that I need to make it happen. :)

  5. Thank you for this. Hearing you say "make it a priority" definitely puts things in perspective! These are great tips.


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