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I have met very few people who don’t like to have fun. Some of the most fun people I have been around are introverts that begin to warm up when the setting is right! There’s not a better way to get people excited about Small Groups than to make it like a party. People like to laugh and cut loose!! Every small group I have ever led, I have made it my personal goal to make it a fun, safe place where people feel welcomed, wanted and loved. Does this work 100% of the time? Honestly, no! There will always be some people who struggle to connect and I believe that as a leader it’s important to understand why they didn’t likely connect, so you can grow from it, but don’t let it stop the party.
Here’s 5 quick keys to having a fun Small Group (Party)
1 – Leaders, try to welcome each guest. Shake their hand, look them in the eye and greet them. Start the evening off right! Depending on the size of your group it’s not always possible, but try to greet them at the door. Make things as personal as possible. Thank them for spending their evening with you.
2 -Nothing starts a party like food. Acts 2:46 NASB says” Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart” Nothing opens the door to relationships like sitting around a table or living room, eating together. A meal can unlock they key to conversation.
3 – Once your group is gathered in a space where you are going to discuss the study or curriculum, my personal favorite thing to start with is what some call an “icebreaker question” but I like to call it a “useless fun information question.” EXAMPLE: What’s your favorite movie, meal, vacation spot, etc. This begins to give insight as to who people are and helps the more quiet folks open up. Minds become open and walls slowly start to fall. As the semester continues, the questions get a little more funny. EXAMPLE: If you could go back in time and see any band in history, who would it be? And so on…. always keep things creative. I believe that the more you laugh with people the better chance there is for people to build relationships and open up. It can take time!
4 – After the discussion is done, I like to shift gears into asking if anyone has prayer requests. It can take time for people to open up. I believe nothing opens the doors to vulnerability than a leader sharing something they need or they are believing for. Leaders – be transparent and vulnerable! Pray for the requests and for everyone in your group that they will have an incredible week, etc. Nothing ends a session like everyone singing a worship tune together.
5 – Eat leftovers and talk some more! When the discussion, prayer and worship is over the night doesn’t have to be over just yet. Spend a little more time connecting. Some of the best conversations I’ve ever had in a Small Group took place after the session was over.
Recently at Lobby 19, Steve Gladen said ” People join for the content, but stay for the relationship!”
Cut loose and have a great time!!