6. Maintain the right group size.
How many disciples did Jesus choose? Twelve. Interesting. He really wanted to get to know a group of people and he chose the number 12. If you get larger than 12 it’s hard for people to share.
In college I had to visit a life group and write a report for a class I was taking. The life group I visited was too large – like 30 people. When it was time to do the lesson, no one really shared except for a few extroverts. Everyone else just looked around. It was really awkward.
This is not a Bible study. This is not a time for teaching. This is a time for sharing. You want to facilitate the discussion, to get people sharing, to find out what’s going on in their lives. If you’re talking the whole time that will not happen.
7. Choose an assistant life group leader.
I would encourage you to do this as soon as you can. Find a person that’s a good group member and give them a shot at leading the group. Let them have the opportunity to experience the blessing of being used of God that you have experienced. As the group grows the assistant group leader will be ready to launch out and start another group.
What does a successful group look like? It’s not about the numbers. A group can be large, bloated, shallow – a mile long and an inch deep. A successful group maintains the right size, 10 to 12, while reproducing other groups so others can have room to get plugged in.
I’m finding more and more that my job as a pastor is to work myself out of a job. Instead of hoarding the ministry, I’ve got to pass things off to the people God sends. Instead of show casing myself, it’s about setting up experiences for others to get in on the action so they can know the joy of God working through them.
8. Stay outward focused.
Don’t become ingrown. When you get an ingrown toenail it hurts, right? It’s not healthy. It’s supposed grow out, not in on itself. In your grow out.
Always look for opportunities to invite new people. Be careful not to develop koinonitis. Koinonia is the word for “fellowship” in the Greek. We can get so focused on fellowship that we loose sight of the lost. When our group becomes a click we suffer from koinonitis. It’s a disease.
A good way to prevent this is to set out an empty chair and let the group know that chair represents the new person that has not yet come to the group.
9. Contact your group during the week.
If you’ll contact people during the week chances are they will come back for the next meeting.
Phone calls are now seen as time consuming. Thank God for email but even that is a challenge for some. Try texting. We are always carrying our cell phones with us. When you text you can get an immediate response.
10. Model authenticity.
The way your group will grow closer is by sharing life stories. As the leader lead the way. Model authenticity and transparency. Be sure to take it slow. Don’t dump and dominate, but lead the way by talking about what God is doing in your life. Your needs, your victories, your struggles. You’ll give everyone permission and freedom to do the same.