How to Start a Small Group
Fulfilling the Great Commission One Study at a Time
by Courtnaye Richard
Have you ever thought about starting a small group in your church, community or home? It would be a great way to kick off spiritual growth in 2018! Whether you have imagined it or not, I think creating a small group Bible study is a great way to not only strengthen other believers but also fulfill the Great Commission. Remember, before Jesus ascended into heaven, He shared these words with His disciples, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey the commands I have given you” (Matthew 28:19-20, NLT).
We are those new disciples.
As followers of Christ (disciples), we are called to spread the Good News with a lost and dying world. However, we are also called to love, encourage and grow in the Word of God together with our fellow Christian brothers and sisters. The Bible confirms this by saying, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25). Creating a small group is a great way to accomplish all of this under one roof.
I know this is true, even in my own life. Since accepting Christ over 20 years ago, I have grown leaps and bounds in my Christian walk! I credit that spiritual growth to faithful believers who were bold and loving enough to share the gospel message with me, but for also coming alongside me to help me mature in faith. I am forever grateful to the many men and women who invited me to attend Bible studies and small groups. So much so, I’ve actually hosted and co-labored a few different studies in my local community and church. In a nutshell, small groups, when done well, can be quite life-changing!
With that being said, if you would like to start a small group in your church or community, I would encourage you to pray about it first. Secondly, I would add to seek the Lord for wisdom on your particular audience, location and which study you’re going to start as a group. In other words, seek Him regarding who, what, when, where and how?
For instance, begin thinking about whether your group will consist of youth, college-aged students, women, men or leaders? Will it be a study created for wives, husbands, mothers or fathers? Or will it be a single women or family discipleship group? These are all great things to consider as you prepare.
Another thing to consider is your topic of discussion in your small group. Will it be a book of the Bible, a topical study such as the Fruit of the Spirit, holiness, end times or a video series? Will you have co-leaders with you to help conduct the study or fly solo? Either way works!
A few helpful, yet suggestive, tips are to also allow time to order the books and/or series well in advance. This will give you the opportunity to be ready for unexpected guests who may need to purchase a book right on the spot. Yet, it will also give you time to go over the content and prepare to be well-versed before your guests arrive. In other words, study, study, study. The Apostle Paul stated in 2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (KJV).
Also, consider purchasing a few gifts surrounding your topic. That’s typically fun and exciting! Most people like gifts, especially the unexpected ones. Oh, and don’t forget to add the ice breakers and a few delicious treats! A pot-luck dish could work if you’re hosting in your home.
Furthermore, think about what day and time that you would like to conduct your small group. Will you start now, which is winter, or will it be spring, summer or fall? Would you like to have it in the morning, lunch time or in the evening?
Now, let’s look into where your small group will be located. Will it be at your church, home, local coffee shop or community center? Begin praying, thinking and looking for a great place to host it. Trust that God will lead you to the perfect spot.
Wait! Don’t forget to market it and spread the word. That’s a huge piece! Facebook is a great way to promote your small group. You can set up an event page, share it in your news feed, and even email a few people that you think might be interested in attending. See about putting it in the church bulletin if you decide to start one at your local fellowship. Hang flyers all over your city if you’re going to present it in a coffee shop or community center. Whatever you do, start talking about it and get the word out.
At the end of the day, starting a small group is all about evangelism and discipleship. It’s about growing in the faith together surrounding the Word of God, prayer and community. It’s about love, encouragement, deliverance, spiritual growth and great fellowship. So what’s stopping you from starting one? You can do this!
Courtnaye Richard is a devoted follower of Jesus Christ, wife, mother, blogger, women’s conference speaker and author of the new book and 8-week Bible study series, Identified: Knowing Who You Are in Christ & Moving Forward in Your Purpose. She is also the founder of Inside Out with Courtnaye—a ministry designed to help women grow stronger in their walk with the Lord from a biblical and practical perspective, as they live out their life purpose.
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