Spending time together beyond weekly meetings can be a bonding experience for your small group. The following are activities some small groups have done to strengthen their relationships.
1. Participate in a project at church—cleaning, preparing a meal, planting a flower bed.
2. Plan a picnic to the zoo.
3. Take a group bike ride.
4. Spend the weekend together—especially when a group is just beginning or ending. Relationships are strengthened on retreats. Go someplace where distraction will be limited.
5. Meet for breakfast on Saturday morning.
6. Send notes to group members during the week. (For leaders this is a good way to encourage members, making them feel special … which they are.
7. Celebrate birthdays and anniversaries.
8. If one member is involved in a special event that is open to others, attend as a group. Showing support for each other is an important part of building community.
9. Make cards and deliver them to people in hospitals or nursing homes.
10. Encourage group members to meet for lunch or dinner. Thirty minutes over a meal can open new doors between people.
These suggestions only begin to list ways of building community outside of regular group meetings. Let your collective imaginations run wild! If you are a leader, encourage your group to spend time together, setting an example for them. You will find the investment of time, along with the fun and laughter, leading to a more successful group.