Connect with your Connect Directors. Every group leader has an oversight called the Connect Groups Admin Team. They provide you with covering, encouragement, and coaching when needed. Please respond to your Connect Group leader when they reach out to you. You will be trained on using Planning Center & Church Center, the main resource used for organizing and maintaining your group’s roster and events.
Pick a Meeting Place
Determine an appropriate location for your group. Keep in mind privacy, noise level, and cleanliness. Don’t assume this has to be in your home! Local restaurants and coffee shops are often excellent neutral locations.
Set the Meeting Schedule
Determine when your group will meet and establish the length of your meetings. Be sure to update your list of upcoming group meetings in Planning Center (PCO) so your group members will be aware of upcoming or canceled meetings.
Determine Your Group Focus
Some groups focus on activities or common interests while others choose to read through a book of the Bible together or review the Sunday’s sermon. Many groups use published materials to learn and grow. You can visit the Pentecostal Publishing House materials for your group!
Please respond to people interested in your group within 72 hours. This communicates value and excellence as you are a representative of Calvary Church. Check out more details on responding to group inquiries under “Group Inquiries and Responses.”
Make it Easy for People
Think about who you are hoping to reach through your group and identify ways you can show hospitality. Also think about possible barriers for that particular group of people. For example, if you think your group might benefit from children’s ministry being available, check with your Children's & Youth pastor about options for childcare reimbursement or mid-week children’s/youth group.
Plan for Fun!
Don’t forget to plan for fun in your group to help enhance relationships. You could plan an activity at a new location, host a holiday party, celebrate each other’s birthdays, or host a game night!
Use the Church App to report group attendance each time you meet.
Share Your Group Story
We love to hear how God has changed lives in our small groups. Share your story with us at email@example.com
Have you thought about what you’ll do for your first group meeting?
Below is a great place to start!
CONNECT GROUP MEETING IDEAS
Use your small group gathering as a social time to allow members to get to know each other.
Here are some ideas:
- Set a time to pray over your first meeting. You could even plan to do this with your Connect Group leader!
- Put out sticker name tags to help people learn each other’s names.
- As people arrive, let them know how glad you are to see them and introduce them to others in the group.
- Put an encouraging note or Bible verse on each chair.
- Provide snacks or order food such as pizza (Ask people in the group to bring an item.)
- Put conversation-starting questions out on tables.
- Play a game that allows everyone to share a little about themselves.
- Make the first night a game night and invite members to bring their favorite games.
- Put together a list of songs to play in the background at the meeting.
- Give each person a postcard and ask them to write down one thing they’re hoping for with the group.
- No matter how many people show up to the first meeting, have fun!
Here are some dos and don'ts to keep in mind to help everyone in your group have a great time.
GROUPS DOs AND DON’Ts
As you lead your group, ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom and directions. If you are debating on doing something with your group, you can always reach out to your hub leader for a second opinion.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Do plan and communicate with your group in advance.
- Do look for ways to make it easy for people to engage.
- Do submit attendance each time your group meets.
- Do update Planning Center with the latest details on your group.
- Do use your group time to facilitate discussion.
- Do encourage group members to pray for each other.
- Don’t use group time for lecture-style teaching.
- Don’t cancel a meeting without letting everyone know.
- Don't worry if you don't have all the answers. It's okay to say, "I don't know, but let me find out."
Find out the key ingredients to help your group thrive.
INGREDIENTS FOR A SUCCESSFUL GROUP
- Pray for those you invited. Pray for their health, marriage, children—everything!
- Pray for upcoming group meetings.
- Pray during group meetings.
- Pray for group members whether they are present or not.
Invite New People
- Appoint greeters for your group.
- Introduce new group members to everyone.
Start and End on Time
- Honor people’s schedule and time.
- Before your group starts, think through how you would like to use the meeting time.
- You can choose to have a time of connection after your scheduled group time for those who want to stay a bit longer.
Welcome People Warmly
- Keep a watchful eye for people who wander to the corners of the room and stand alone.
- Make sure you have funny or interesting icebreakers. It’s not easy to recover from a bad start.
Create an Atmosphere for God to Move
- Be prepared and expectant. God always shows up to a prepared and expectant atmosphere.
- Believe for God to move during your group meetings.
Minister to Your Group
- Be sensitive to the fact that first-time visitors often come to a meeting with a ministry need.
- Don’t let your schedule inhibit you from the most important part of the meeting: ministering to the people!
- Minister in an orderly way.
- Train the members of your group to minister to others.
Have a Clear Purpose
- Cast vision for the meeting.
- Cast vision for group growth.
- Invite group members to embrace the group vision.
Learn how to build a healthy foundation for members to grow.
Healthy things grow! Cast vision early for the growth of your group members and leaders. Whether your group is a social, study, or serve group, create an atmosphere where people can grow in community and their relationship with God.
Everyone needs encouragement. Some people need to hear they’re doing a great job while others need to hear things are going to be okay.
Empower group members by calling out the potential you see in them. For example, if someone is a great gatherer, encourage them to invite people to the group or even lead a group of their own, if so, guide them through that process.
You could also ask group members to share the responsibility of providing snacks, welcoming guests, taking attendance and leading the discussion time.
The Word is life-giving and needed to experience spiritual growth. You can have a Scripture of the day or share a verse the Lord has put on your heart. It doesn’t require preaching; it’s simply encouraging people with the Word.
Make prayer a priority. Prayer is instrumental in building genuine community within your group and making group members feel cared for, connected, and encouraged. Prayer creates a way for each group member to hear from God, believe what He says, and obey Him.
Explore answers to some frequently asked questions about leading a group.
How do I start a connect group?
Ask God for direction about what group to lead and what type it should be. Then be sure to register your group for that semester online, when it is available. Be sure you complete the steps it takes to become a leader.
How do I invite people to my group?
A personal invitation is the best way to bring people into your group. Social media is another great way to spread the word.
Who should I invite to my group?
Don’t be afraid to invite the people already around you. Group members don’t have to attend Calvary Church.
- Invite your friends and people you meet at weekend service.
- Invite people you work with or your workout buddies.
- Invite parents of children on your child’s sports team.
- Invite people you volunteer with at church or in the community.
Where can I hold my small group?
We encourage small group to meet outside the church building in the places where you like to spend your time. Some of the most common meet places are coffee shops.
Does my group have to meet weekly?
We encourage meeting weekly each semester in order to build the relationships but most groups do meet biweekly or monthly.
Why do I need to report attendance?
Reporting isn’t numbers; it’s stewardship. It helps us track the engagement level of each person in your group. If someone misses a few group meetings, a need may have arisen in their life. The Connect Groups Admin Team takes note of that. Community is the first step toward healing and growth, and we want everyone to feel connected and supported.
How do I choose a curriculum?
Any Christian-base small group study, explore Pentecostal Publishing House or what is on our small group webpage would be a good option. Remember, the goal for your group is to create a safe, welcoming place for people to grow together, no matter the curriculum or activity.
What should I do if someone asks a question I can’t answer?
It's okay to not have all the answers. Thankfully we can find guidance through prayer, God's Word and the Holy Spirit. Encourage them to spend time reading the Bible and praying. Also, let them know that you will do your best to get some information and get back with them.
What should I do if someone in my group shares something with me or the group that requires more attention beyond what I can provide?
If you encounter a difficult situation within your small group, please know that you are not alone. If a member is going through a crisis, you can rally the group around them. If you are unsure of what to do, don't hesitate to ask. You can call Calvary Church at 303-758-5900, if needed. You can also contact your Connect Groups Directors.