Approaches to Build a Successful Small Group
Last week we discussed how to build a men’s ministry where there is no support. The big idea is that men’s ministry is really about building relationships, not about building a program. Anything you can do to get men together in small groups so they can sharpen each other toward spiritual maturity is a winner.
This week let’s talk about some different approaches you might take in your small group. I’ve been in over a dozen small groups—some of which lasted a few weeks, two of which are still going after 28 years and 19 years. What are some different things your small group might do?
Bible Study: Number one if you can make it happen is to study God’ word directly. Perhaps you are a Bible teacher, or know someone who is. If not, consider a study guide or watching the free videos of The Man in the Mirror Bible Study and doing the downloadable discussion questions.
Discipleship Group (or Growth Group): Get men or couples to meet and work through study guides that help you discuss the Bible by topics.
Fellowship: Include opportunities for people to learn about each other, their families, work, and interests. You can allow some time before and or after some teaching time, or you could have a special event like a picnic or backyard barbeque with children.
Prayer: Teach your men how to pray by praying. Ask different men to pray. Allow some time for prayer needs.
Accountability: Four men left their wives in one church within a few months of each other. Two men were on the fringe. Two were in small groups. All four had hard hearts. Two and a half years later, the two in small groups have restored their marriages. How? The guys in their small groups simply refused to let them walk away. Give men a voice to be vulnerable. Also, be willing to ask men how they’re really doing.
Service: I love relationships, but after talking for a couple of hours I need to get out and do something. I suspect most men feel the same way. Organize projects (versus routine obligations) from time to time that give the men in your group an opportunity to serve Christ and bear fruit.
Sports: Sports leagues are a great way to get guys together. A team is a type of small group.
Mission Trips: Take your small group on a mission trip into a urban area or overseas.
Adventure Trips: Many men have found a deeper walk with Christ around a campfire after a long day of hiking or rafting.
Father/Child Studies: Five dads took their seven teenaged sons on a nine day boat trip. They planned to spend 30 minutes each day talking about manhood issues. By the end of the trip the 30 minutes had grown to 90.
Any combination of the above ideas can work. You can meet on any schedule you want (weekly is good if you can). You can meet for any length of time (one on my groups—a one on one—meets for an hour, and my other group meets for 1 and ½ hours).
The best method to reach men is the one you will use.
For the glory of Christ and no other reason,
P.S. For a complete treatment on “How to Lead a Weekly Men’s Small Group,” check out the A Look in the Mirror #94 of the same title.