3. Brush up on your skills.
When you’re a new leader, there’s a ton of training that could really help you. The biggest thing you can do, though, is set out to love people and build relationships. There’s no training that can help you there—it has to be something that you’ve already decided to do, something you feel passionate about.
Beyond that, though, I highly suggest working through some training that can help you understand your role as a leader and effectively facilitate discussion. SmallGroups.com offers lots of great tools. I’d recommend starting with our Small-Group Leader Orientation Guide and Leading 101. Whether you’re brand-new or a veteran leader, you can learn something from these two practical tools. Oh, and I recommend working through these tools before your first meeting. Maybe even at least 24 hours before. (What? You don’t procrastinate like I do? Okay, never mind then.)
If your church has a small-group pastor and/or small-group coaches, check in with them. They’ll likely have some great suggestions for you as you begin your group.
Ready to Hold Your First Meeting?
As you prepare to lead your first meeting, take a deep breath. It’s going to be okay! Every small group starts with a first meeting, and every small-group leader has felt that anxious turn in his or her stomach. Check out this great video on leading your first meeting from small-group expert, Bill Search. For more, check out The First Meeting.
My biggest tips for your first meeting? Focus on fun, and get everyone talking within the first 10 minutes. They don’t have to say anything serious or life-changing—just get everyone to open their mouth and contribute something to the conversation. No matter what kind of group you’re starting, the foundation must be built on relationships, so the first meeting should focus on getting to know each other and having some fun. The best part? That time spent having fun will pave the way for honesty and vulnerability later on. Believe it or not, fun and laughter often create the kind of environment for tears later on.
—Amy Jackson is managing editor of SmallGroups.com