In our first blog post in this series, we talked about how you can build interest in your community to host a new small group. Missed it? Read it now!
Now that you’ve built interest and have an idea of what topics people would like to talk about in a small group setting, it’s up to you – as the leader – to think through what this means for your small group’s future.
As you start to form the group, think about the following dos and don’ts to make it a positive experience for all.
Do follow up with everyone that initially responded
Even if you aren’t focusing on a topic that they initially noted interest in, definitely keep them in the loop as you form your small group and set forth with your first session. There may still be interest and you don’t want anyone to feel excluded.
Don’t set all the goals and requirements
Yes, you need to set an overall goal and some initial requirements for participation (e.g., what resources do they need to purchase? How often must they attend?), but don’t set all of the goals and requirements.
Instead, spend some time in your initial meeting setting this for the group – and taking feedback from all involved. Giving participants ownership will help them have a more engaging, positive experience.
Do select a resource that fits the majority
After receiving feedback from everyone on what they would like to focus on, you likely have a clear winner for a topic to talk about. Take the responsibility for selecting a resource and structure that fits your goal for the small group.
If participants need to purchase any materials prior to the first meeting, make sure to communicate where they can find it and the cost so that they can come prepared.
Don’t stop sharing the small group with others
Vacations, busy work schedules, a sick kid… these are all distractions that take people away from focusing on other activities. Someone may have missed the initial announcement or forgot to respond; don’t stop sharing the small group with others!
While you don’t want someone to come in midway, you can find ways to continue to involve them; and if you do have enough interest that weren’t able to sign up initially, perhaps you can start a second small group!
Do ask for continuous feedback
As you get started with hosting your small group sessions, make it known that you are open to feedback – and that you want to learn how to continue to grow and change the sessions to make it a great experience for all.
An open feedback session at the start or end of the small group time can give people a chance to share their thoughts overall. In addition, you can ask people to share with you privately if they are more comfortable. Either way, knowing where people would like to see things improved or changed can ensure that you are meeting your goals as a small group leader as well as theirs as a small group participant.
Check back next Thursday for the next post in our new year, new small group series! Missed the first one? Check it out here.