START A HUDDLE
Thank you for your interest in starting a Huddle! The purpose of Huddles is to connect small group point people together at least once per quarter to build relationships, to find encouragement and to share ideas and resources! We hope that nobody stands alone, because we are better together! Click the create a huddle button to get started and check out our Huddle FAQs to find everything you need.
H - have a heart for people
U - understand and care about them
D - develop relationships
D - dine over snacks or coffee
L - learn from each other
E - encourage people
S - share an idea or resource
Login to your small group network account to be taken directly into your member portal or if already logged in, click your name found inside the blue box in the top right hand corner of the homepage. From Inside your SGN Portal under the section labeled “Huddles I lead,” you will see your huddle listed. Click on it to view or edit your huddle info, to see who has joined your huddle online or to send group messages to your huddle members by clicking “Contact Group.”
Initially, you will want to promote & invite people to join your huddle on a grass roots level through personal invitation, phone calls, text, email & social media. Specifically share what it is, when it is & where it is. As people begin attending your huddle, invite them to then create an SGN account, find your specific huddle on the huddle map & click “join” to join it. As people begin to join your huddle online, you will be able to communicate with your members solely through the Huddle messaging system as it will send them email alerts. You will be notified via email whenever new members register online to join your Huddle. Please contact them promptly to thank them for joining & to let them know when your Huddle is meeting next.
Your Huddle may consist of a few small group point people at a coffee shop, a dozen people meeting in a restaurant for lunch, or 20 people meeting at your church. The effectiveness of a Huddle is not dependent upon size. Many Huddles start very small and grow from there. If you focus on building relationships and providing good content, your Huddle will naturally grow. Don’t get discouraged by occasional low attendance, even if two people can connect it’s a win.
Many Huddles meet monthly or every other month, however Huddles should meet a minimum of once per quarter. As the Huddle leader, you initially choose the frequency that your Huddle meets, but once your Huddle grows and you’ve met a few times, you should ask your Huddle members what meeting frequency works best for everyone.
Pick a time that is not only convenient for you, but also for fellow small group point people. Consider traffic, church, work and family schedules. Lunchtime is usually a good time for Huddles to meet. Once your Huddle grows and you’ve met a few times, you should ask your Huddle members what meeting time works best for everyone.
Huddles typically last about two hours, but can go shorter or longer. Make sure there will be enough time to fellowship, share ideas, discuss issues and pray for each other.
Choose a place where people will be comfortable sitting for a couple of hours to talk. This might be a local coffee shop, restaurant or even a meeting room at your church. Many Huddles change locations based on the different Huddle members who are hosting it at their church on a given date.
Schedule your Huddles as far in advance as possible. Publicize the date, time and location early and often. Most small group point people are very busy with competing priorities at their churches or places of work. Research shows that we generally need to hear about something 4 times before we act. Try to alert Huddle members one month out and then two weeks out. The week of is when you will typically receive solid RSVP’s or regrets.
If you are eating during your huddle, be sure to add that to your Huddle description. Perhaps something like “Bring $5 for inexpensive lunch.” If you are meeting at a location outside of a coffee shop or restaurant, supplying water, coffee and snacks would be a nice touch. Set the mood with some worship music playing in the background and use signage so people know where to go. Also make sure the area you are meeting in is clean and the room temperature is comfortable.
A Huddle is an interactive experience where everyone learns from one other. Keep the discussion flowing and divert the conversation away from those who may monopolize it. Emphasize that everyone has something to offer. Like in a small group, ask open ended questions. Ask for opinions and ideas. When people do share, be sure to acknowledge and thank them.
Have everyone that’s coming bring their best idea that’s shaping community in their context and a challenge that they are struggling with in their ministry. Ask everyone to bring a printed resource they are using to share with the group.
Ask other small group point people who are coming to take the lead on a specific part of your Huddle. For example, someone can lead an “ice-breaker,” while someone else opens in prayer & while someone else leads through the topic discussion.
It’s all about relationships! Huddles should major in relationships and minor in strategy. Do an ice-breaker activity together. This will help to introduce people to one another and get conversations going. Example: what’s your name, church and your worst “pet-peeve?” Grow together so you really can support each other personally & professionally. We learn more about one another and what pitfalls to avoid when we are real with one another. Pray for one another.
Share the value of Small Group Network. Encourage people to register for free at smallgroupnetwork.com to receive a free monthly newsletter full of insightful resources and encourage people to join the SGN Facebook group community (https://www.facebook.com/groups/SGNContact/). Share of any special SGN conferences or workshops that are coming up (https://smallgroupnetwork.com/events). Discuss when and where your Huddle should meet next.
Invite in a guest speaker on occasion to share with the group for 15-30 minutes. This could even be by video call.
Take a group picture before your Huddle ends and post it in our Facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/groups/SGNContact to celebrate what God did and to create awareness of the value of Huddles. Also send the picture to your Huddle members.
Follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Even if you have an agenda for the meeting, be open to what God may be doing. Recognize and honor God moments in your meeting. Just as in a small group, “getting through the material” is not the purpose of the meeting.
Huddle schedules will vary. Here are some example agendas:
15 mins coffee/ fellowship
30 mins welcome/ greet / ice breaker
15 min focused equipping time (guest speaker)
15 min group discussion
30 mins lunch / think about 1 question to ask group
60 mins talk about questions & give answers
Praise – What’s a good thing that has happened lately in your ministry?
Problem – What is one challenge facing your ministry?
Plan – What’s next in your ministry plans?
Pray – How can we pray for you?
Send a follow up email the following day to your Huddle. Thank everyone for coming and remind them of the date, location and time of your next Huddle.
Initially, you will want to promote & invite people to join your huddle on a grass roots level through personal invitation, phone calls, text, email & social media. Specifically share what it is, when it is & where it is. Do an internet search of churches in your area that do small groups and take down the contact info of their small group point person. Call them to introduce yourself and to invite them to your Huddle.
We know that some of you live and do ministry in remote areas many miles away from other small group point people. If this is you, consider starting an online Huddle where you can meet online with others to find encouragement and to share ideas and resources relating to small group ministry. Just choose the “online” Huddle option when registering your Huddle. You choose what online platform your Huddle will use.
Coaching, leading effective meetings, launching more groups, recruiting small group leaders, online groups, child care, groups during holidays & off-seasons, making group missional, systems & processes for group placement/ tracking/ stats, marketing/ promoting groups, health of small group point people, dealing with overly talkative people, lead pastor/ senior leadership relations, multi-site groups, small group branding in church lobby, transitioning into a new church, encouraging small group leaders/ hosts, time management, scriptures/ quotes/ books/ podcasts/ video ideas for small group point people.
Visit smallgroupnetwork.com/resources to find free articles, videos and podcasts addressing every small group ministry topic. Use the search bar to find specific topics quickly.
If you need further support & assistance please contact your Regional Leader listed HERE (https://smallgroupnetwork.com/team)