Turn on the light! New ideas for small groups

Not all small groups have the same purpose. You may come together to study the Bible, get a little physical exercise, make something for a special ministry project, learn how to share your Christian testimony or engage in a mission activity.

Regardless of the small group’s purpose, there is a tendency on our part as leaders to fall into a rut of previous actions. Someone has defined a rut as a grave, open at either end! To keep a small group viable and active, a leader must provide creative guidance through introducing new ideas.

Here are some examples of new ways of involving people in small groups. Adapt and customize them for your use!

Bible Study Small Group
Presented in The Navigator Bible Studies Handbook (1979, 1994), consider using this format for a Bible study of a specific book of the Bible:

  • give each chapter a title (discuss why each chose their title);
  • write down the chapter’s key verse (talk about why it was chosen);
  • ask students to write out the challenge they received in the chapter and how they can apply it to their personal lives;
  • list parts of the chapter that are difficult to understand;
  • restate briefly what the chapter says (not what it means)

Prayer Small Groups
A lack of variety in prayer groups is often a cause of frustration. Try some of these ideas to freshen your group’s prayer times.

  • Play recorded music.
  • Change posture during prayer – stand in circle, join hands, kneel.
  • Set guidelines for sharing prayer requests (a time limit; categories; length of sharing)

Fellowship Small Groups

  • Spend time getting acquainted with each other. Do this by asking questions, doing a fill-in-the-blank fun sheet, or by asking each to share one thing no one else knows about them.
  • Plan a group outing – to a spa, a park, the beach, a museum. Take into consideration that some in the group may have limited financial resources.
  • Foster fun through various ice-breaker activities at every meeting.

Mission/Ministry Small Groups
One reason people join small groups is the fact they feel they are making a contribution. If your mission or ministry group is inward-focused, it’s time to change that!

Make ministry a year-long emphasis. Make a list of items to gather each month. Having a variety of items on hand will make it easier to assemble personal hygiene packets for the homeless and other needy persons. Here are a few ideas which you can adapt to your area’s climate:

  •  January – toothpaste/toothbrushes
  •  February – lip-balm
  •  March – hand sanitizer
  • April – personal size tissues
  • May – small bars of soap
  • June – shampoo, small bottles
  • July – hand-lotion
  • August – school supplies
  • September – washcloths
  • October – gloves, mufflers
  • November – socks
  • December – hot-drink mixes/juices

Collect food to provide lunch bags for the homeless (enough food for one day):

  • two breakfast bars
  • two pop-top cans of tuna
  • two pop-top cans of fruit
  • small tube of toothpaste & toothbrush
  • small bar of soap
  • plastic fork & spoon
  • 3 boxed juices
  • two granola bars
  • napkin
  • New Testament
  • witnessing tract with your church’s address on it.

For more information, contact Eva De La Rosa, Interim WMU & Women's Ministries Specialist at 559.229.9533 x. 256 or by e-mail.

Last Published: June 8, 2011 1:24 AM