10 Tips for New Small Group Leaders


“Huddles” are like small groups for small group point people & are found all over the world. They are a great place to find encouragement, support & ideas for your small group ministry! To start or join one click here

If you had 2-minutes to share a handful of tips to help a brand new group host / leader get started in building community, what would you say?

  1. Include fellowship time on the front and tail-end of your meeting time, and when possible have food. Start and end on time. All of these elements encourage conversation and build relationships.
  2. Open your time in a brief word of prayer and help make participants aware of Jesus’ Presence in your midst (Matthew 18:20).
  3. Share 1-2 brief insights of your own to jump-start the conversation.
  4. Relate what you’re discussing to Jesus by asking two questions:
    • What does this teach us about Jesus?
    • How does God want me to respond to what I’ve just learned?
  5. Be prepared to ask “open-ended” questions that will stimulate reflection and help move people toward action. These are questions that cannot be answered with a simple “yes” or “no” and often start with the words “what” or “how.” For example:
    • What do the rest of you think? How do others feel?
    • What did you find noteworthy about this passage?
    • How can we move forward?
    • What led you to that conclusion?
  6. Questions you can use in EVERY Bible study discussion:
    • What stands out to you in this passage? What impacted you during the reading?
    • Was there something read that’s new for you, reaffirming, confusing or challenging?
    • How can we apply this to our lives today?
    • How could this be shared with people who do not yet know Christ?
  7. Be real. Be yourself. Authenticity is the key to helping others open up. Develop a dynamic where people feel safe to share and free to be themselves, e.g. be the first to respond to a question and do so humbly and honestly.
  8. Try to involve every person – acknowledge and affirm each person who speaks.
  9. Be on watch for others who can champion different aspects of the group’s life together and intentional about grooming them to take greater responsibility in small steps.
  10. Turn people’s attention beyond your immediate circle by praying for the lost and encouraging them to invite friends to join you.

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Reid serves as the Director of Communities of Purpose for the Small Group Network and has been a Pastor of Groups at Christ Fellowship Church in Palm Beach County, FL since 2008. He has been equipping leaders in churches of all sizes and stages of growth for effective disciple-making since 1996. Reid has been a contributing author for Christianity Today’s smallgroups.com, LifeWay’s Ministry Grid, and he developed small group training for the North American Mission Board’s Send Network. One of the ways he expresses his love for helping leaders start and multiply healthy groups throughout their churches is through www.reidsmith.org.