- Identify a location suitable for 10 to 20 men and women to meet each week. A consistent location should be established such as a home, church, office or other meeting place of your choice.
- Determine a day of the week and time for the group to meet for 1½ to 2½ hours. This should remain consistent each week. Mornings at 7:00am or 7:30am or evenings beginning at 6:30pm or 7:00pm are usually good starting times.
- Recruit current and/or potential leaders in all walks of life (i.e. business, church, schools, government, community organizations, etc.). It is highly recommended to keep the size of the group to 10 to 20 people.
- Click here to obtain a printable group sign-up sheet. Please ask all of your participants to provide complete information requested on the form. As new participants join, please continue to gather the same information for each person. We then ask that the information gathered be provided to us by using the ‘Group Meeting Information’ form which can be found by clicking here. As an alternative to entering the information yourself, you can scan the completed form and email it to us by clicking here.
We use this information to send a weekly reminder to each participant containing the Gospel reading for the week and an invitation to attend. We also send a monthly email to the group leader with links to all of the worksheets for the month. In this way the leader has all of the month’s worksheet available to provide to your participants at the meeting. Weekly emails are sent early each Monday morning and the monthly email to leaders is sent on the third Tuesday of each month for the following month.
- Prepare! Before each meeting, read that week’s material. Read that month’s book. Look for, reference, and, if appropriate, copy pertinent newspaper/web articles pertaining to that months Leadership topic.
- Each month’s topic, weekly readings, that month’s book, prayer booklets, binders and more materials to assist with group facilitation are available on our website and most materials may be downloaded or ordered and shipped to you for sharing with your group.
- Refreshments are recommended but not required. Group members could take turns providing refreshments if so inclined.
- Chairpersons should always have a Co-Chairperson designated to facilitate group discussion in the event the Chairperson is unable to make a gathering.
- Timing is everything! It is critically important that the meeting begins and ends on time. If this does not happen you could lose good people.
- Name tags are very useful, as are oversized index cards folded as table toppers with the participant’s name.
- Using the template and materials available to you (e.g. weekly Scripture readings, prayer booklets, etc.) are critical to maintain the continuity and consistency across all groups.
- If the Chairperson notices someone monopolizing the conversation, he/she must regain control of the discussion and redirect the conversation by encouraging others to share their thoughts.
- If the Chairperson finds themselves in the midst of a conflict and/or overly demonstrative discussion, he/she must defuse the situation immediately and impress upon participants that Christ is present in everyone and therefore we must always treat each other with dignity and respect.
- If a group member adamantly challenges the Biblical message and/or attempts to turn the discussion into a debate on Biblical relevance, the Chairperson must stop the discussion and remind the participants that this is not a Bible Study group nor are most group members Biblical scholars. The group must be focused on Christ’s presence in the everyday journey of our lives and in the lives of those around us. Remind the group that the one Teacher in each group is the Holy Spirit, Who inspires each of us to share our insights and daily struggles with each other in a manner that supports one another’s personal walk with Jesus. The Chairperson, or any member of the group, is encouraged to contact the Stewardship office at 717-367-0100 for support at anytime.
- All group members should feel welcomed and respected for their input and insights.
- Encourage participants to bring their Bibles to the group meetings.
- Consider utilizing a conference line/speaker phone for those who are unable to attend a weekly session in person.
- Fellowship outside the weekly meetings, such as family picnics, weekend retreats, Christmas gatherings are strongly encouraged to allow entire families the opportunity to get to know each other.
- Every group that has followed this simple template has shared amazing stories of conversion, spiritual growth, saved relationships and a closer relationship with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit!