How to Start a Small Groups Ministry
Events, trips and even outreach opportunities will attract teens to your ministry. But, they’ll stay and come back only if they form authentic and real relationships. That will happen if you have a healthy small group program.
Small groups are powerful but they can’t just be thrown together. They need a plan and a structure. To get your small groups started you need to:
1. Set Goals and Know What You Want to Achieve
The reason most of our work feels like work is due to a lack of direction. If you want your small groups to be more than another program you need to know two things:
Why are we building a small group program?
What looks different after we’re doing this for three, five or 10 years?
Those questions are meant to build a narrative for our ministry. That narrative will not only give your small group ministry a purpose but attract people to be a part of it.
Take time to work with a team on what you hope to see because of small groups. Dream and discuss the impact it will have on the lives of the teens, their leaders, the parents and the entire church.
2. Recruit the People You Need to Get You There
There are doers and then there are thinkers. Both types of people will help you reach your goals, you just need to make sure you use them properly. That means creating roles for your team like:
- CORE LEADERS: These are people who are going to bring ideas to the table. They will help you solve big picture problems and keep an eye on the program from a 30,000-foot view.
- OPS CREW: These are the people that take care of the details from food, chairs and materials. They are making sure your spaces are set so that you can focus on leading.
- SMALL GROUP LEADERS: These are the actual men and women who are going to sit with teens, share life and pray with them. They are relational and willing to go the extra mile to get to build relationships.
- CONTENT DEVELOPERS: Even if you are outsourcing your content you need a group of people who are going to personalize it for your church. These are creative and outside the box thinkers.
Small groups are simple, but it needs a diverse team of individuals who will help you focus on building the team and getting the word out to the teens and their families.
3. Recruit Like a Campaign
After you put in all the hard work to building a structure, the worst thing you can do is just send an email announcing your small group launch. To get your small groups going you need to run it like a campaign. That means:
- Making phone calls to personally talk to people about why they should join.
- Recruiting people already sold out for the vision to spread the word.
- Offer informational opportunities where people can learn more before they commit.
- Making yourself present on the weekend so that people know who is asking them to join.
The more you put yourself out there the more likely you’ll get people to say, “Yes, I’ll be a part of that.” And that’s because they’ll have formed a personal relationship with you and it’s easier to say yes to a person than it is to a flyer. (For more on recruiting people, click HERE.)
A small group structure is definitely one of the best ways to build a healthy ministry. Your numbers will be easier to mobilize, and people will feel connected as you start growing in size. It will help teenagers form close, Christ-like relationships that will help them move closer to God.