Having a strong sense of community within your congregation should be one of your top priorities as a pastor. If all that your attendees are doing is attending on Sunday morning to listen to the sermon, but they’re not getting involved in a small group, they’re missing out on one of the greatest parts of belonging to a church. As I’ve heard one well-known pastor say, “Circles are better than rows.”
Life change happens when people are in community, doing life together, walking side-by-side, and developing close, trust-filled relationships. Therefore, it’s important that your church offers different environments for people to engage in that kind of community.
There are many different types of small groups you can set up and allow your congregation to pick from. So if you’re at a place where you’re wanting to either start or revamp your small group ministry at your church, let’s look at a few types of groups you could implement.Life Groups
These are small groups in the traditional sense. They usually meet once a week in someone’s home on an agreed-upon day of the week and time. These groups typically run for at least a year or two, maybe even longer, allowing the group to really get to know each other and build close relationships while encouraging each other to grow in their relationships with Jesus. These groups can be sorted by area of town, age, gender, the season of life, you name it. There is room for flexibility.Topic-Based Groups
These groups are great for people who are wanting to try small groups out for the first time but aren’t ready to fully commit to a life group. Topic-based groups are usually more short-term, lasting only a few weeks, and are centered around a specific topic or study. Maybe you offer a group on parenting, a group for engaged couples, or a group on prayer. The possibilities are endless.Service Groups
While this isn’t the most traditional format, it’s a great way to still foster community while also serving those in need. Service groups typically find two to three projects per month to help with throughout the community. The goal is that while people are serving alongside each other, they will get to know each other, build relationships with each other, and pursue further community outside of the times of serving. I would highly recommend that in addition to the two to three service projects, a service group engages in a social night at least once a month.
These examples are only the tip of the iceberg, but they should get you started as you are considering the different types of small group formats you would like to offer to your church. There isn’t only one right way to do this. All that matters is that you’re giving your congregation the opportunity and the avenue to connect more closely with other people within the church so that further growth and discipleship can take place in their lives.