People love and support fellowship groups if they share freely and feel important. Great leaders maintain and promote such a positive and friendly ambience through the following objectives:
- Stand near the entrance and cheerfully and energetically greet everyone as they enter the house. Thank them for their attendance. That is the first positive impression that sets the tone for group interaction.
- Make it easy for people to find the bathroom. Let them also know if the kitchen is off limits so they don't habitually gather and block the traffic.
- Bring energy and vitality to the meeting. Rest before leading a group discussion. If you lack enough energy or feel tired, ask one of your co-leaders to lead the discussion.
- Set aside a short warm-up time at the beginning of each meeting. It helps people free their minds from daily challenges and engage in group discussions.
- Start and stop the meeting on time, regardless of how many might be late. That's to appreciate those who arrive on time. Some participants may have other appointments after the group meeting. Closing on time allows them to leave without missing any part of the discussion or the group fun.
- Open the discussion with your prayer so someone else. And close the meeting with a prayer, even if there is no prayer request.
- Promote intimacy by being the first to share a hard or embarrassing experience. People won't open up if you share something superficial.
- When asking for feedback, listen to all suggestions before planning future events.
- Encourage everyone to notify the group or one of the leaders in advance if they can't attend the meeting. A small but consistent group is better than a large but inconsistent group.
- Ask everyone to respect different opinions and avoid the temptation to correct each other. If someone shares a non-biblical doctrine, ask a knowledgeable person to share their view. It is better to hear controversial ideas than hide them. In an open and inviting discussion setting, people share and learn from each other.
- Some may talk longer than others, and that is OK. However, avoid eye contact if someone constantly talks much longer than others. People may keep talking if they have the leader's full attention! Sit next to them so they may not see your face and get energized!
- Regardless, there will be times that you will have to interrupt someone by saying, for example: "Mark, what you said about this subject seems interesting. Let us hear what Sandy has in mind." As in this example, enter into a conversation respectfully, then take it over and transition it to someone else (Sandy).
- There will be exceptional occasions when someone may share something tragic or a highly emotional experience. Listen without interruption. They may talk for half an hour to get it out of their chests. That is OK. Then, empathize, lay hands, pray, and comfort
- If you are hosting the group meeting in someone’s home, ensure everyone leaves before you leave.
Please click on “Challenging Groups” to continue.