Last week, I posted five times about the idea that:
ANYONE CAN LEAD A SMALL GROUP
Of course, I do believe that every small group leader should meet a few criteria; but my basic point was that just about anyone can lead a small group if they have the right tools. I suggested four key elements which can serve as the tools to enable someone to lead a small group. These four elements are:
While each of these elements is important, and a healthy group will include all of them; they are not all created equal. A proper balance of these elements will require the small group leader to spend more of his/her time focusing on some elements than on others.
Most important to a group's health is the expansion of their faith. Therefore, the majority of the group's time and the group leader's preparation time should be devoted to this element of group life.
Fellowship is also important, as the people's relationships with those around them can often play a major role in how they relate to God (read 1 John).
Food and Focus are important, but should not command a great deal of time and energy. Simply making sure they are a part of the group experience should be sufficient to maintain the group's health.
I don't think there is a "perfect" length of time for group meetings, however I do think one hour will usually not be enough. Two hours is more ideal, and an hour and a half is probably sufficient if its all you have. Below is a demonstration of how I would break up the group meeting time if I was leading a 90 minute group time:
10 Minutes: Food and informal discussion as people arrive.
20 Minutes: Fellowship Time. (a predetermined exercise to get people talking to one another)
45 Minutes: Faith Expansion. (Bible discussion and prayer time)
10 Minutes: Focus time. (talk about what is coming and remind one another of their commitment)
You'll notice that this leaves 5 minutes of flex time in case one element goes longer than another.