Note: This article has been excerpted from the SmallGroups.com training tool called Growing Small Groups.
My ideal small group would have included three good friends: Lynn, Margaret, and Susan. But I figured it could never happen. They were all busy people. We saw each other in church on Sunday and exchanged e-mail through the week, but the last thing any of us needed was another weekly meeting to attend.
The four of us operated in different spheres with little overlap. Lynn was a young mother of three in a world of playgroups and preschools. Margaret, 50, was an administrator at a local college, single, with a master's degree. Susan, 28, led an active parachurch ministry on campus, so her hours aligned with those of college students.
Seeing no convenient time or place for us to meet, I nearly abandoned my dream of forming a group. Then early one morning I turned on my computer to retrieve my e-mail. My inbox contained three messages: one from Lynn, one from Susan, one from Margaret.
At that moment, I saw a possible solution. Our meeting place had been right in front of me all along. Why not form an e-mail small group?
Our First Try
I sent each of them invitations via e-mail:
"I have an idea for a small group and am inviting you to participate in a four-week pilot attempt. This is just like any other small group except you don't need to buy a book, add another meeting to your schedule, do homework, or leave your computer to come to my house, a church building, or anywhere else to meet. This is an e-mail small group."
Immediately I received three enthusiastic acceptances, plus a suggestion for one more woman to invite, making the total for the pilot attempt five women, including me.