Now that you have a simple overview of what is involved in being a small group leader, we hope you’re feeling encouraged to take on this important role. Remember, you don’t have to be the expert, but you do get to shepherd and host your small group over the next twelve weeks.
With that in mind, let’s walk through what a small group meeting might look like. We recommend that you set aside one and one half hours for your meeting. Assuming you are meeting in the evening, your agenda might look something like this.
First, everyone arrives at the perhaps at 7 PM. Remind everyone of the need to show up on time every week. From 7 to 7:15, you might have time for fellowship, and if it’s your first time meeting, having everyone in the group introduce themselves.
Next, from 7:15 to 7:45, play that week’s session on the DVD. Not every session is exactly 30 minutes, but this is a good estimate. From 7:45 to 8:15, you’ll dig into your Leader’s and Participants’ guides and have a great discussion. Around 8:15 or so, you’ll want to start wrapping things up, and then close in prayer. By 8:30, everyone should feel free to leave. Again, running late on a regular basis will lead to frustration. Respect everyone’s time, both in terms of when you start and when you end.
Once everyone has arrived, keep an eye on the clock and help make sure everyone is seated and ready to watch the DVD on time. It’s also a good idea to ask folks to mute their cell phones during the session. Once the video segment is over, follow the outline in your Leader’s Guide to direct the discussion. Make sure every individual or couple has their own Participants’ Guide. If some members of the group seem quiet or hesitant to contribute, don’t embarrass them. Just gently encourage everyone to participate.
Keep in mind, The Family Project has a redemptive and uplifting message, but it also covers material that some people may find upsetting. I’m talking about things like divorce, or wayward children, or abortion. It’s quite possible that you or other members of the group have experienced deep personal pain as a result of some of these things.
As the group leader, don’t feel like you have to be a professional counselor when these painful topics arise. Encourage the members of your group to consult with a pastor, or even to contact us here at Focus on the Family. We have a team of Christian counselors on hand to help people who are grappling with these tough issues. You can refer people to our Family Help Center by calling 1-800-A-FAMILY or sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.