READY ► SET ► GO
New group leaders are looking for direction so be sure to give them steps to help them get their group off to a strong start. Don’t overwhelm them with too much information, but offer just enough guidance so they know what they should do BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER their first meeting. This is an example of a single page resource I’ve used called “Ready–Set–Go”:
- Invite as many of your friends as you can think of…
- Share your vision for the group – why you’re doing it and what you hope people will walk away with.
- Try to describe the dynamic of the group and the people who will be a part of it.
- Create an invitational ripple effect by having your friends and new group members invite their friends too.
- Invite more people than you have room for (this is b/c usually only half to ⅔ of those who confirm actually end up showing up!). Start with as many people as you can at the beginning because there’s always attrition.
- Tell people it’s a short-term experience that could change their lives forever and then they’ll be able to decide if and in what way they’d like to continue.
- Let them know there will be food…lots of good food! (If group members commit to bring food to the next meeting, this increases the likelihood they will return.)
- Phone or text your sign-ups a day or two before your first meeting.
- Pray for your new group and group members!
- If you’re using a video-based study, review the upcoming session and any leader/host material in advance.
- Welcome and introduce yourself (be relaxed, be real, and have FUN!).
- Share a little background as to why you chose the focus of the group you did and tell them basically what each meeting will look like.
- Allow time for people to introduce themselves, sharing who they are and why your group stood out to them.
- Acknowledge God’s Presence with you (Mt. 18:20) and share how you believe the Lord will use your new group experience to transform their lives. Depending on how many people are present who are not a part of your church, you can touch briefly on how your group will help everyone to fulfill your church’s mission by living out the biblical purposes of God together.
- Model authenticity and affirm each person’s input as you facilitate discussion.
- Encourage participants to invite their friends, people they work with, neighbors, parents of their kids’ friends, and other unconnected people at your church to future meetings.
- Close your group time in a brief prayer and get a picture.
- Let your Pastor or Coach know how everything went and how they can pray for you!
- Follow-up with those who didn’t show up by calling them and let them know you missed them, how great the first meeting was, and remind them of when the next meeting is going to be.
- Spread the word on social media with your photo and welcome people to join you.
- Remind your new group members of your next meeting (and the food they’re bringing) a day or two beforehand.
- Review the upcoming session and tailor the discussion questions based on who God has placed in your group.
- Start pondering and praying about who you believe could co-lead with you and eventually launch out with their own group.
- Over time, share bite-size roles and responsibilities with your group members, see what people gravitate toward, and let them run with it! Rotate the study facilitation as well.