Avoid botched beginnings

Avoid botched beginnings

The way a leader handles the first few meetings of a small group usually determines how effectively it will function over the course of its lifespan.

Blunder #1: Leaders don't discuss expectations up front.
Every leader should come to the first meeting prepared with a basic idea of what the group can expect from you and what you expect of the group. As a group, you need to discuss and set clear expectations or guidelines, i.e. how long and often to meet, will it be an in-depth study or something lighter, will there be snacks and drinks each week, etc.

Blunder #2: Leaders expect everyone to be highly committed.
You'll find that some people are committed to the group, some to the content, and others to you as a leader. Typically, the commitment level will rise as the group develops and members get to know each. Be patient.

Blunder #3: Leaders tend to set higher goals than the people can reach.
For example, memorizing a verse a week might be doable for some in your group, but others who have to work long hours or who are single parents may find that impossible at this point in their life. Before you set goals, talk about them as a group. When you do, set bite-sized doable goals. If members start to feel like they are on the outside looking in, you'll loose them.

Blunder #4: Leaders tend to respond to silence by dominating discussions.
At times, it is appropriate for the leader to answer first. It can help others feel more comfortable or know how light or deep to share. Silence is okay. If after a few minutes no one answers, you may want to rephrase the question or interject some humor. Your group needs to know that you and others want to hear their opinions and comments.