Below are specific ways to help you GET THE MOST IMPACT in your small group at church.

INFLUENCE – God has given you a sphere of influence, so be influential in establishing trust and utilize your position to be one of transparency and companionship. This type of influence will create a strong community (koinonia) of believers in the presence of God.

Oswald Sanders said, “We must aim to put more into life than we take out.” Therefore, if you want to be the best mentor for the group and propel it forward, then make sure you follow the seven principles of an effective mentor.

  1. Be a mentor who is influential.
  2. Be a mentor who is personable, passionate and productive.
  3. Be a mentor who will serve the need.
  4. Be a mentor who others want to follow.
  5. Be a mentor that keeps a balance of humility and self-confidence.
  6. Be a mentor who has the aptitude to solve problems and bring solutions.
  7. Be a mentor who directs with clear vision and delegates responsibility.

An influential mentor is one who is prepared and will make things happen, where as an unprepared mentor will eventually lead the group down a wrong path. Hence, never lose sight of the vision and purpose of the group.

Your purpose is to structure community, develop discipleship and establish an identity relatable to the group.

MOTIVATE – It’s imperative that you stay positive in motivating your group to remain committed, come prepared and be receptive to grow in their faith! When the mentor loses the spark to motivate the group, it will take a major dive. Use your influence to make the group a priority in their lives and inspire them to crave discipleship.

Always encourage the group to pray daily for one another, stay caught up with the reading and lessons, reach out to others in the group, and seek out ways to involve the group in service projects they can do as a family. Remember the three “Ps” when motivating your group:

  1. Purpose—Why are we here?
    It’s always good to remind the group of your commitment together to learn God’s truth and understand how to apply it personally as well as to the rest of the family.
  2. Plan—What are we here to do?
    The plan was to start as a group and see lives changed in the end. But that won’t happen if people give up on the group.
  3. Practice—How do we live it?
    It’s more than just talking the talk! We’re about practicing what we preach and deliberate in making a difference in our homes and those around us.

Another sure-fire way to motivate the group is to assign and share responsibilities that will get them working together for the long haul.

PREPARE – The group is more than just gathering to learn content. It’s about taking the central truth of the content and involving it in the context of our lives. But for this to happen, preparation on the part of the mentor is a major centerpiece for the group to be successful.

  1. Study to know the content before small group.
  2. Start on time and end on time.
  3. Always open and end with a time of prayer.
  4. Act as a facilitator, not a lecturer.
  5. Keep the questions and discussions on point.
  6. Maintain order, not disorder.
  7. Hold the group accountable to complete the required assignments.
  8. Be sensitive to the work of the Holy Spirit.

ACKNOWLEDGE – It’s a common mistake for most people to ignore problems and sweep them under the rug. But as the mentor of the group, it’s important that you remain sensitive to the dynamic of the group and stay active in acknowledging each member. Calling on various people to answer questions, allowing a testimony to be shared, and affirming people’s responses and feedback are all valued acknowledgements.

A great way to acknowledge and affirm the G.R.O.U.P. is to follow the acronym:

Generous—showing kindness toward others.
Respectful—extending courtesy toward others.
Open—expressing brokenness before others.
United—building cohesion with others.
Prayerful—making petitions on behalf of others.

CONNECT – Be relieved to know that you don’t have to be a dynamic speaker or persuasive leader to build a well-connected group.

You do, however, need to work hard to keep the group strong so that they can grow through the various ups and downs. Groups usually start off strong, but will experience a few “phases” along the way. The phases usually go from “Gung-Ho,” to “Oh No,” to “No Show,” and (hopefully) in the end to “Now We Know.” So, don’t be alarmed when your small group experiences some of this.

A great way to keep the levels of friendship strong is to structure a healthy form of accountability with others inside as well as outside the group. It would benefit everyone if you appointed a godly couple or trusted member of the group to plan a few group outings and service projects to do together. The more fun you have together the more you will grow together! This is important to be aware of because the group must be able to connect to everyone or else the question, “Where do I fit in?” will drive them away.

In addition, schedule opportunities to catch up with people outside your small group, and make sure to utilize social media, and not just email and text.

In case a person or couple misses a group meeting, be sure to follow-up with them promptly and bring them up to speed on what was covered that week. If this person or couple becomes M.I.A. (Missing in Action), take the proper steps to reach out to them and address the issue with grace and love. They need to know they are missed and that their involvement (or lack thereof) affects the whole group. To get them back on track, find ways to help reconnect them to the small group.

TRUST – In time, the people in your small group will ask for your advice. This is a good thing. It shows that the people in your group trust you and respect your influence in their lives. So ,whatever you do, make sure you don’t jeopardize their trust. It’s vital that when giving godly counsel, it’s always backed with the guarantee that it stays between the two of you. Gossip is never to be tolerated (Proverbs 16:28). This, however, doesn’t apply only to the mentor, but to the entire group and ought to be a covenant that each member agrees to follow.