“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I
have loved you, so you must love one another. By this
everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love
Church small groups are not designed to simply be
meetings where knowledge is transferred from one
person to another. They are intended to be the practical
application of Jesus' command in John 13:34, a place
where the one-another commands of the New
Testament can be lived out.
A small group should be a community of people who
have committed to share their lives with one another. In
the process of sharing their lives, their growing unity
promotes a deeper fellowship together and with Jesus
A LIFEgroup is the lab in which we learn to love and be
loved by one another. The New Testament measures
the growth of our love by the yardstick of the “One
‣ Love one another.
‣ Be devoted to one another.
‣ Honor one another.
‣ Stop judging one another.
‣ Accept one another.
‣ Instruct one another
‣ Greet one another.
‣ Agree with one another.
‣ Live in harmony with one another.
‣ Serve one another.
‣ Bear with one another.
‣ Forgive one another.
‣ Submit to one another.
‣ Admonish one another.
‣ Encourage one another.
‣ Do not slander one another.
‣ Offer hospitality to one another.
Every group should focus on growth, care and mission.
These need not be exhibited equally in every group, but
every group should strive to find a healthy balance of
We come together to open ourselves to God’s Word and the work
of God’s Spirit. As a result, our group members demonstrate an
increase of the fruit of the Spirit in their lives and actions.
We come together to combine our gifts and resources to ensure
the needs of every member are met. We celebrate together, we
mourn together and we work together to demonstrate God’s love to
We come together to DO SOMETHING outside our normal group
meetings. To avoid becoming internally focused, we intentionally
strive to be an outwardly focused group.
Each official group meeting should include these four
elements of a “successful small group meeting.” As you
build your group, remember, “teamwork makes the
Something happens to us when we share food with other
people. Food helps people drop inhibitions and open
themselves to others. Acquaintances become friends and
friends become soul-mates over shared meals. A healthy
small group doesn't always need food, but food almost
always helps a group be healthy.
‣ Keep it simple. Provide snacks instead of meals. Brownies,
cookies, vegetables are all great. Even a quick trip to Kroger is
‣ Take turns. Don’t let any one person be responsible for all
snacks. If each group member is responsible one week, no one
member will get overwhelmed. By keeping the snacks simple,
no one is unqualified to provide.
‣ Choose one coordinator. Their responsibility is to keep the list
and remind people when it is their turn to provide snacks.
True friendship doesn't just happen, it must be cultivated. A
healthy small group, regularly takes time to cultivate
friendship by building relationships among group members.
Devoting a significant time to relationship building
whenever the group comes together is the best way to
develop true fellowship.
‣ Ask each member an “ice-breaker” type question such as, “If
you were stranded on an island, who would you want with you?”
or “If you could have a conversation with one historical
character, who would you choose?”
‣ Ask each member an “experience” question such as, “When
was your best vacation?” or “Who has made the most impact on
‣ Use table games like ImaginIf, Zobmondo or Dictionary to get
group members talking about themselves.
The small group exists to empower every member to
become more like Jesus. Know yourself. If you are capable
of preparing a discussion lesson every week, go for it.
However, if that is too much of a challenge, a wealth of
material exists which you can use to build the faith of your
‣ Use the sermon follow-up questions available in each week’s
‣ Select and use a video curriculum
‣ Find discussion guides at: smallgroupdiscussions.com
‣ Choose a book to read through together
‣ Keep it simple with a SOAP study or the RAP method.
SCRIPTURE - Read a passage together
OBSERVE - Talk about what the passage says and what it
APPLY - Discuss how to live out the truth of the passage
PRAY - Spend time praying with and for one another
READ - Read a passage together and talk about what it
means to you
ASK - Ask the following two questions:
‣ What is God doing in your life?
‣ With what are you struggling right now?
PRAY - Spend time praying with and for one another
Small groups often tend toward being internally focused
rather than externally focused. To avoid this danger,
members of a healthy small group should be sharing their
lives outside their normal meeting times. A healthy small
group should have "extra" events that bring them together
for purposes beyond studying the Bible.
‣ Serve together in the community (soup kitchens, homeless
‣ Serve together in the church (childrens ministry, youth ministry,
building and grounds projects)
‣ Sponsoring needy families during the holidays
‣ Taking trips together (sports events, amusement parks,
‣ Dinner parties and potlucks or lunch together after church
Jesus said, “The Son of Man came to seek and to save that
which was lost.” More than anything else, Jesus’ followers
should be concerned with pursuing the lost. Most of the
time, most groups should be actively pursuing new
members. Keeping an empty chair visibly present at group
meetings is a reminder that everyone can be inviting others
‣ Begin by praying together for those you desire to invite.
‣ Invest your time and energy into building relationships with
those you desire to invite. Have dinner with them, go to a game
together, help them with a project at their home.
‣ Invite them to a small group party as a low-pressure introduction
to your group.
‣ Be open with others about why you participate in a small group
and how it has benefited your life.
‣ Accept “no” for an answer, but not forever. Ask again.
YOU CAN LEAD A SMALL GROUP
(Kindle book available on amazon.com)