With families and friends gathering for the holidays, there is a highlighted need for church fellowship as we see people sitting alone in the congregation. It’s a beautiful time to see the holes that could exist and use the data you gather inside your church congregation to develop small groups to meet the needs of your members. Here are a few questions to consider as you look into starting, revamping, or even restarting small church, community groups.
Consider the location of your church and those that attend. Where does your congregation live? Are you spread out across a rural town where it takes time to get somewhere central? Or maybe you church is in a large city where crossing town takes time but gathering in boroughs is a quick public transportation spot away. Do you need many houses to volunteer space and hospitality or a simple few? Wherever your church is planted will determine the ease of your members gathering in small community groups. Take note of those who are interested in community groups and get out the map! It may be easier than you think to find a spot that suits many.
Who is in the group? Are you gearing a group towards a bunch of young adults? Perhaps families with young children? Or maybe you have a bunch of “empty nesters.” While youth may be able to sit on the floor, older adults may need assistance on stairs or may not be able to sit and stand easily on fluffy couches. Are there people with handicaps attending that will need accommodations such as vision or hearing impaired? Maybe you just want everyone who is within a center town’s limits to find common ground and interests? In any event, knowing the who of each group is an important step in the success of the group since the majority of people are more likely to remain in attendance if they feel like they were thought of from the start.
Now that we have talked about who – we need to discuss when. Sunday nights may seem like a no brainer, but many enjoy the mid-weekly meeting and touchstone of community. Take a poll of each group! It is common for small groups to meet at different times and, given variety, you are more likely to affect more people, which s the goal! No one needs to feel alone and everyone can benefit from options if they are available.
To Keep in Mind:
Always be ready to speak to disagreements within groups with grace and love. In the book, “Kingdom and Country” written by Angie Ward, a contributing author spoke about a small group that dissolved after the onset of division as a result the pandemic. We all know that no one was immune to these secondary effects such as the extreme dividing lines that took place in many parts of the USA. What is important to remember as we move forward is that God unites us. A critical step in revamping or reuniting small groups post-pandemic is to have a general written mission and guidance for these groups that speaks in love and reminds us, even if our discussions get “hairy,” that God is for us all and, since we are for Him, we are also for each other.
Has your church begun meeting again n community groups? We’d love to hear about it in the Community!