When one small group branches into two, we can ease the process for group members until both new groups are established.
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Summary

When one small group branches into two, good leaders can ease the process for group members until both new groups are established.

Meet at different times and places.

Try to place the new group on a separate night or in a different part of town from the original group. This may not be possible, depending on the members of both groups. But if you are able, this can help the new group to get established. It’s about giving people options. Some people might find the new night better for their schedules, or find the new location easier to attend. So schedule and location preferences can give people reasons to attend the new group.

Keep membership boundaries fluid – at first.

Don’t tell people which group they should attend. Let them decide not only by schedule and geography, but by natural affinities and friendships. However, in the few weeks after the new group is launched, let people attend both groups for a while, if they want to. And give them permission to switch back and forth between the two groups. This will help minimize some of the anxiety people feel about choosing or about leaving friends behind. Realistically, attendance will stabilize pretty quickly, especially as both groups work to get people involved with responsibilities in the group.

Have a reunion.

Make a conscious plan to get the two groups together a few weeks after the new group is launched. This will help people feel like they’re not totally disconnected from former group members. Have a picnic or party, or find a service project you can do together. What you’ll find is that the longer you go after launch, the less interested people will be in reuniting, because they will soon settle into the rhythm and relationships of the group they’re attending.

Communicate between leaders.

Make sure you talk regularly with the leader of the other group. Discuss how the transition is working, what people’s attitudes are, how much nostalgia there is for the original group, how both groups are rebuilding their leadership team, and the like. Good communication will help identify any potential problem issues and let each group celebrate what’s happening in the other group.

The point is: if you’re intentional about monitoring the transition, the members of both groups will quickly get over any anxiety about multiplying the group and both groups will soon start developing their own new identity.

Discussion Questions
  1. Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
  2. What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?

  3. Have you ever been involved in the transition from one small group to two? If so, what went well? What didn’t go so well?

  4. Do you think it’s a good idea to let people switch back and forth between both groups? Explain.

  5. What other ideas can you think of that would help people transition into their new groups after a group multiplies?

  6. If you’re the leader of the original group, what would you want to communicate about with the leader of the new group, and why?

  7. If you’re the leader of the new group, what would you want to communicate about with the leader of the original group, and why?

  8. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.

 

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