I’ve been facilitating a Bible study for a small group of women for a few years now. I started out inviting women who aren’t in Sunday school classes (like those who teach children’s Sunday school classes). Then we opened it up to a few more who wanted to join us. It’s going well and our church is starting more groups like ours. I thought about what makes our group work and why we’ve stuck together through the last few years. Here are a few ideas:
- Keeping the number of people at 8 (I think going up to 10 is still OK, depending on your group). The Sunday school classes at our church tend to be pretty big. That’s great when your primary goal is to study the Bible together. But, if fostering relationships is an important goal, a smaller number is better. Not all eight of us are at every meeting, but we can still keep up with what’s going in each other’s lives.
- Meeting at our houses. This works for us because we have a mentoring aspect to our group and I believe being in each other’s homes encourages us in that mentoring. It’s informal, with husbands or kids or pets around. We can pitch in if there’s a need.
- Eating together. The person who is hosting makes sure we have plates and forks, but the rest of us bring the food. We meet one Sunday each month from 5-7:30. We eat and talk for the first hour, and do our study for the rest of the time. (It’s also a good way to find a new recipe!)
- Having a Facebook group. Since we only meet once a month, we were having trouble communicating prayer requests and organizing our group time. We created a private Facebook group so we can interact there whenever we want to. Last week three of our group members had doctors appointments with members of their families. It was easy to share those requests in the group and hear the results.
- Picking one specific person to encourage each month. This is something new we just started doing. We wrote down our contact information on cards and swapped with each other. In the weeks between our meetings, we pray for that person specifically and encourage her with a text, phone call, candy bar, or card. Each time we meet, we pass the cards around and get a new person to encourage.