Small Group Pointers and Characteristics
1. Membership - Those in the group should be prayerfully chosen. Do you enjoy each other? Would you want to be together at other times? If you are new to each other, be patient. Every intersection of life is a divine appointment.
2. Size - 4 to 5 guys in a group seems to be a manageable number.
3. Confidentiality - What is said there, stays there. An innocent prayer item shared with your spouse can become unintentional gossip.
4. Location - Prayerfully and carefully chosen. Privacy is best, but restaurants are an option for those who can best meet for breakfast or lunch.
5. Time - The beginning and ending time should be consistent. Meeting weekly is best.
6. Sharing - A healthy group allows each person to share. No person should dominate the discussion. Mutual submission is an indication of the work of the Spirit. The sharing should deepen as the group bonds. There should be a minimal amount of feedback, as that can stifle the risk of being open. Accountability is a healthy characteristic of a small group. A person who opens up to personal issues should be heard with sensitivity. Real listening is hard.
7. Mission and Motivation - This perhaps might have been placed first on my list. Why are we meeting? Are we meeting to encourage each other to be more like Jesus Christ? Is our perspective beyond the group to ministry to other guys, to serve in the worship and work of the Lord? Try to start praying about 3 men who do not know Jesus Christ that the Holy Spirit would orchestrate an opportunity to reach them beyond the group.
8. Materials - Some guys function better just sharing their lives. Other men choose to go through a Book of the Bible. Some men choose a specific book.
9. Evaluation - Be honest about the group's health. Sometimes the group has a shelf life. Groups need readjustment. Without stepping on the scales of evaluation, the group may die a slow death from emotional fat, or slowly leak from indifference.
10. Summary: A healthy group is well chosen group. They have fun together. They are a manageable size. The members are trustworthy. They get below superficial sharing. The group has a mission, stays on focus, and gets regular check-ups. The result: Men who are on the grow. Men more like Jesus. Men who are commissioned to make disciples of Jesus Christ. Men who are friends with God. Men who are blessed to make a difference in His kingdom. You are such a man!!