When Smaller Is Better

Sometimes issues arise in small groups that are best resolved by breaking into even smaller groups.

Sometimes issues arise in small groups that are best resolved by breaking into even smaller groups. Here are some occasions when shrinking may benefit your group.

Problem: Cliques

Solution: At the beginning of the study, match two people who do not know each other well. Give them a list of basic questions (Where do you work? What are your hobbies? What is your dream vacation?). Let them introduce each other to the rest of the group. Often, those two people will sit together for the duration of the study and begin to foster a new relationship.

Problem: Reluctant prayers

Solution: First of all, be sensitive. It may take a long time for a new believer to feel comfortable about praying aloud in a group. Do not force it. If you sense people are ready, assign them to groups of two or three. In this case, it is probably best to pair people who know each other fairly well. Sometimes, I will give the groups a prayer sentence to complete, such as, "I thank You, Lord, for…"

Problem: A member who is shy or new to the group

Solution: Break your group into two or three smaller groups for the entire session. A shy person may be quicker to speak up with a smaller audience. A new person can focus on two or three relationships rather than eight or more. If using a study guide, ask each subgroup to cover specified questions or a certain portion of the Bible passage. Each group can then give a short report to the others about what they learned.

Problem: Lack of application

Solution: Divide into groups of three of four, and discuss how to apply the lesson in the week ahead. Members of the subgroups can decide how to follow up with each other for encouragement and accountability. Another option is to pair people as accountability partners for the week. ...

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