How to set expectations for a new Group Guide

Establish a safe pace for small group growth

Hilary Foye · 3 min read

If you’ve ever been an employee without a job description, you may have felt unsure whether you were qualified for the role, what you were committing to, what was expected of you, and why you were hired.

That’s why when you want to encourage your small group to participate actively in discussion, to co-lead with you - or even to start their own Bible study - it’s good practice to communicate expectations, outline the commitment involved, and establish common goals.

1. Start with S-A-F-E communication

Kickstart healthy cooperation within your group by clearly outlining what you expect from one another as you gather together. The S-A-F-E acronym below is an example of how this might look, but it could easily be adapted to reflect the attitudes and behaviours you value most:

S – Secure boundaries

Expect to establish healthy limits; to accept the answer ‘no’ graciously; to be free to express opinions openly and respectfully.

A - Authentic openness

Expect to grow in faith as you guide discussion; to pursue honesty; to value transparency; and to demonstrate integrity in all you do.

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F - Forward-facing welcome

Expect to develop together in spiritual maturity, numbers and relationship; to encourage gifting you see in others; and to always extend a wide-open invitation.

E - Engaging encounters

Expect to prepare for challenging discussions; to anticipate life-changing conversations; to develop dynamism and enthusiasm; and to engage passionately with the transforming Word of God!

2. Set a realistic P-A-C-E

Alongside clear communication, be transparent about how you’d like people to participate. This will guard against frustration and burnout in your small group.

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P - Planning

Do you want people to help send out weekly communication, set up snacks, brainstorm icebreakers, lead prayer, or facilitate discussion? Whatever you have in mind, involve them in the process. Let them know well in advance if you’d like them to lead any aspect of a Group Gathering, give them time and space to prepare, and point them to any relevant Bible study resources available to them.

A - Availability

What availability is needed for what you’re asking? If you’re asking someone to join a new group, do you intend to complete one study, or more? Do you want them to commit for six weeks, one year, or indefinitely? If you’d like someone to lead the discussion one evening, share how long it usually takes you to prepare for the gathering.

C - Care

Assure anyone helping with any aspect of the gathering or discussion that you prioritize their well-being and the group is there to support them. Ask how things are going and how they are feeling. Look out for signs of stress and encourage them to establish regular rhythms of rest.

E - Evaluation

Set a date in the near future to chat over how things are going with your group. One of you may prefer to do more or less hosting, friendly follow ups, or discussion leading, for example. Or perhaps now is the time for one of you to step out and lead a group themselves! Regular evaluation keeps communication channels open.

3. Establish common goals

It’s amazing what common goals do to bring people together, inspire creativity, instill passion and promote unity. What is the purpose of your small group? What does a win look like for you? What do you dream of God doing?

At WordGo, our vision is to see you read the Bible regularly, help you stay in it, and watch you be blessed and inspired as you grow together in God’s Word with friends.

We read, He speaks, and we are transformed.

Now that’s great Bible study.

Remember, you can set a S-A-F-E P-A-C-E for your small group by:

...communicating clearly

...outlining commitment, and

...setting common goals.

Want to learn more?

Want to make your WordGo Gathering a great place for identifying and growing God-given abilities in each other? Or perhaps you’d love someone to come alongside and facilitate with you? In this blog series, we’ll explore strategies for developing and discipling one another. Join us!

... How to identify new guides

How to encourage well

How to guide by example

How to empower one another

How to equip others

How to aim for expansion