How to start a group.
Some thoughts to get in the right head-space.
Groups are not as daunting as they sometimes sound. We’re people and we need to connect. Groups are just a way to connect. So, don’t worry about being a) spiritual enough b) good enough c) outgoing enough d) smart enough or e) anything else enough. If you’re up for having some people over, connection will happen at some form or another, and thus, so will a group.
Give it enough time. Be patient. Trust and relationships don’t happen overnight.
That said, don’t be afraid to say a group isn’t working. Sure there are some connections but, sometimes, it just doesn’t all come together. Sometimes, it’s not the right place to work, he’s not the right person to date, she’s not the right counselor and that’s alright. It’s nothing against you or them, it’s just the connection that isn’t clicking. That’s alright. End it and try again.
To get something out of this, you’re going to have to put something into it. Nothing in life is free. Everything has a cost, including relationships and connections. Sometimes it’s just you being vulnerable and risky and other times it’s you having to open your home up to some strangers.
You have something people want to hear. You are someone people want to be around. You may not believe it (or you may) but everyone has an interesting story and everyone has an ear that can hear someone’s else’s story. It’s valuable and meaningful and it matters. And so do you.
Here we go...
Start with committing to just three meetings. Take something from the list below and invite people to 3 scheduled groups. Once you are done with your scheduled 3 you can decide what to do next. If it was great, schedule some more! If not, don’t. It still wasn’t wasted.
Meet every other week instead of every week. It’s tempting, but try to resist the full-speed start. People are busy and it is another time commitment. Don’t burn them out. Keep them wanting more.
What do do at your 3 planned meeting?
Questions: Asking questions is a great way to get to know people. Here are some Ideas.
Inside the Actors Studio: (10 questions they ask on the show)
What is your favorite word?
What is your least favorite word?
What turns you on?
What turns you off?
What sound or noise do you love?
What sound or noise do you hate?
What is your favorite curse word?
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
What profession would you not like to do?
If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
1. When you were little, what did you want to be?
2. What’s your most embarrassing childhood memory?
3. What was your happiest memory as a child?
1. What’s your greatest fear? What are other fears?
2. What’s your greatest dream? Other dreams?
3. What wakes you up in the morning and gets you out of bed?
1. How would you describe your spirituality/faith/religion?
2. What’s your faith history? Parents? Youth Group?
3. What’s your biggest frustration with spirituality?
4. What’s your favorite thing about your spirituality?
1. I Am - Everyone takes a few minutes to write down 10 statements that begin with “I am…” They can be poetic, meaningful, hard, easy, funny, whatever you want them to be.
Examples might be…
I am… a big dreamer from a small town.
I am… not what you think I am.
I am… dusty roads, red flowers, biscuits and gravy, and yelling matches with my parents.
After everyone has had a chance to write them down, go around the room and have people read them.
2. Beach Scene - Get a large piece of paper and some markers. Take about 10 minutes and have everyone draw a beach scene from the top down. (You can also use a basketball court or football stadium). After the scene has been completed give everyone three pieces of paper and have them place them on the scene in the spot that best represents:
How they see themselves in life. (On the sidelines, on the court, surfing…)
Where they want to get to. (Shooting the winning basket, diving in the water…)
Where they are at spiritually. (Coaching others, sidelines, etc..)
A few book suggestions to go through as a group. Simply split up the books into 3 parts and ask questions about those parts. Some suggestions:
Favorite part of what you read. Couldn’t get it out of your head. How did it impact you?
Least favorite part of what you read. Couldn’t get it out of your head - for other reasons. What bugged you?
If you could ask the author any question, based on the reading, what would it be?
The Way to Love- Anthony Demello
Daring Greatly- Brene Brown
Everything Must Change - Brian McClaren
Help Thanks Wow - Anne Lamont
Love Wins - Rob Bell
Go Through a Book of the Bible: Just read together. The Bible is an awesome interesting and crazy book. Great for a group that is ready to ask hard questions and not have great answers all the time! (Ecclesiastes, Job, Matthew, Luke are an interesting place to start)
You can always email us or talk to us for more/better suggestions. We’d love to know what works and what doesn’t so we can continue to help everyone try to build better connections.