PLEASE NOTE: This is not an exact science! Your group structure should be the product of real people and real prayer. It is important to have a firm rule that each week’s meeting will be done within 1.5 – 2 hours so that expectations are clear and everyone (especially parents) can plan childcare and bed times.
* Denotes an item that is typically reserved only for the first meeting of the semester.
- ASK LOTS OF SIMPLE QUESTIONS!
- Allow people to break the ice with each other (introduce people as you can)
- If you’re providing snacks/drinks, have them out and available for people to serve themselves
- Enjoy relaxed, light conversation with everyone while any latecomers arrive
- Get everyone’s attention and ask them to informally introduce themselves (you might have them also share which FOTP service they typically attend and talk about their family a little bit)
- Hand out a LIFEGroup Member Agreement to each person and explain that the best way to build a successful LIFEGroup is to make sure everyone is on the same page about what to expect from each other, from you as the leader, and from themselves
- Take turns reading out loud the values listed on the page. Allow for questions and discussion to be asked after they’re read.
- If your LIFEGroup is going to offer childcare to parents, collectively agree on how that will work
- Collect the signed forms (or have each person sign/initial one form) and keep them in a safe place in your home in case you need to refer back to them during the semester
- Create a sign-up sheet on the back of the Member Agreement, or ask for a few volunteers who can take some of the responsibilities of the LIFEGroup. This will likely help them take ownership of their commitment and feel valued to the group. Responsibilities might include bringing snacks, opening/closing prayers, hosting the group at their house one week, facilitating discussion, etc.
- Referring to the sermon discussion question in your program from the most recent FOTP service, begin asking for comments and thoughts through each of the questions listed for LIFEGroups
- Your goal might be to serve the group by getting others to talk more. If you notice a few people who haven’t talked yet, ask them a specific, open-ended question that invites them into the conversation.
- Don’t be afraid of a little silence
- Encourage your group members to take notes while they listen to the original message at each weekend service so they are eager and ready to contribute ideas and questions during your LIFEGroup meetings
- Collect notes of specific prayer requests from each person (can be delegated). You may also hand out note cards to allow each person to write their own and then turn them in at the end of group. Either way, send them out to the entire group later.
- One way to collect prayer requests is to ask for each person to give their “PLR,” meaning a prayer request, something they are learning about, and something they are reading. Read more about what this looks like in the article called “Discipleship,” found in the Grow Teaching Blog.
- Have someone in the group pray to close the meeting. This can be specific over each prayer request that was shared, or generally if the prayer requests were turned in privately.