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Anyone Can Lead a Small Group If They... FOCUS on the FUTURE

Food, Fellowship, and Faith are all elements of a healthy small group. With a little bit of work and the right tools, almost anyone can implement these three elements in their group. While some may be more gifted at group leading than others, I believe that most people can lead a small group if they are simply willing to pay attention to four elements of their group life. Over the course of this week, I've unpacked these first three elements, and today I'm going to look at the fourth.

Element #4 of a Healthy Group: FOCUS on the FUTURE.

My assumption is that the members of a healthy small group are sharing their lives outside of their normal meeting times. A healthy small group should have "extra" events that bring them together for purposes beyond studying the Bible. These events might be meals, parties, trips, or better yet service projects, or missional activities.

Taking a small amount of time on a regular basis to focus on what is coming up will enable a group to accomplish these kind of extra life-sharing events.

The group I "share life" with loves to party. Every summer we have several parties at homes, parks, and other places. Using tools like email and Facebook enables us to focus on these events even when we aren't meeting regularly (5 Ways to Use Facebook to Improve Your Group).

More importantly, our group also has several missional/service focuses over the course of the year. Once every month we gather to serve at a local soup kitchen. Each Thanksgiving, we assemble a couple "meal baskets" to give to other families. At Christmas, we adopt one or two families and shower them and their children with gifts. We facilitate all these projects by taking a few minutes out of our meeting time each week to FOCUS on the FUTURE.

Here are some simple questions you can ask during your focus time to help your group be more strategic in it's extra life-sharing activities:
  • What events or projects are coming up in the next few weeks?
  • Is there a cost? Who will collect the money?
  • Who will be participating?
  • What do we need to bring for this?
  • Who will be responsible for each aspect of this event?
  • Who will send out reminders?

If your group doesn't currently engage in missional or service projects, let me encourage you to start as soon as possible (fall is a great time to start doing new things)! If you need ideas to get you started, try these links:


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20 Questions to Build Group Connections

Here is a great exercise for a new group. The instructions are pretty simple. Go around the group giving each person the opportunity to choose one question and answer it honestly. Anyone can follow-up with an opinion or clarifying question (no critiquing each other's answers, though). Once a question has been answered, no one else may answer that question.

If your group is larger, you may want to alter the rule and allow each question to be answered 2 or 3 times. Ideally, each person should end up answering 3-5 questions.

As the leader, pay attention to the conversation. Let the discussion run its course as this is how people in the group build their relationships with one another. You can use these questions, modify them or create your own.