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building a community to reach a community

November 29, 2012

How You Start Does Matter!

I am sure you have heard the phrase, "It's not how you start, it's how you finish." One of the reasons why I enjoy college football more than the NFL is because how you start, your first game, can affect how you finish - where you find yourself in the oftentimes controversial BCS standings. If you are not a college football fan this was probably not a helpful opening illustration to make my point. How you start your small group time really matters. 

One of the most important times of your group gathering is when the group arrives. Even if you have been a group for a while, this still really matters. The group doesn't start when you sit down to start the study but when the first member of the group arrives. So here are some quality improvement checkpoints for you as a leader when it comes to starting your group experience when your group members first arrive until you sit down to begin the group study.

Here are some important relational action points:

1.) Verbally communicate your gladness for their presence and offer the human touch of a handshake, hug or pat on the back. Probably not culturally acceptable to offer the "holy kiss" Paul talks about. Point - The first moments of connection set the emotional tone for each member's initial experience - make it positive!

2.) Find simple ways to create non-threatening inclusive conversations. If you know your group members are college football fans, use as an arrival conversation point and invite others to join as they arrive. (Am I overdoing football - can't help myself this time of year). Point - Find ways to engage every member in the conversation so each one has the blessing of sharing and being heard.

3.) Transition the arrival conversation naturally into the conversation you want to engage members in to launch the group study. Point: This will help set the tone for the study to shift into conversations and discussion instead of the typical Q&A.

How you start really matters and will really make a difference in how you finish your small group gathering. Thanks for all you are doing to facilitate your group members to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Grace Be With You,


Important Reminders: 

Giving Depot, Saturday, December 8- There are still some opportunities to serve this weekend to prepare.  Contact Lois.  There are also opportunities to serve next week to prepare and the day of the Giving Depot.  Sign up in the lobby this Sunday.

Men's No Regrets Simulcast, Saturday, Feb. 2.  Early registration is $20.  Register at

Just Women's Night, Friday, February 8.  More details to come.

Small Group Snapshot - The form is available on our website on the Group Leader's Page.