- Vulnerability and authentic conversations take place between people who feel their lives are connected.
- The fewer meetings you have, the more communication you need between meetings.
- Synergistic conversations can take place without the group being in the same room.
Ideas to Stay Connected
- Set up a Facebook group and invite your members to join. When one person posts photos, ideas, comments or questions to the wall, all members will be notified.
- Set up a group Twitter account and keep a conversation going between group members.
- Call up group members to do recreational things you're already doing. When you decide to see a movie, have a cookout, play cards, go golfing, or go shopping, be proactive and invite group members along. In this way, you can fit community-building into your current schedule.
- Have a set dinner invitation the same day and time each week at the same place. Make this an open invitation for any group members who would like to join you.
- Go on a retreat or a mission trip together. Groups that meet less than once a week have a difficult time breaking through the "acquaintance barrier" and becoming friends. A three-day retreat or mission trip will definitely aid in breaking through that barrier. Be sure everyone in the group is part of this experience, though, so no one is left out.
- use Skype or a similar program to have conversations between meetings. This alleviates travel time but still makes it possible for group members to connect and see one another's faces.
- Do you and some of your group members enjoy playing online games, or do you have access to an online service through your video game console? Take advantage of it. You no longer have to be in the same room to have a robust game night. You can even talk to one another while playing—just be sure you all have a headset.
If you're leading a group of very busy people, ignoring their needs will only frustrate group members and may even drive them to leave the group. Considering and responding to members' needs are vital for small groups that are relevant to life.
—Rick Howerton is the Global Groups Environmentalist for NavPress Publishers and a regular blogger. This article is adapted from his blog; used with permission from the author.