Steven: In a season of beginnings, it’s always a good idea to set the tone. Regardless of how something starts, it most likely needs to be tweaked to become what it was intended to be.
In my new junior high small group, this is no different. Before the year started, my co-leader and I had planned to do 2 weeks of get-to-know-you stuff in the beginning. We wanted to encourage everyone to be comfortable with each other, and getting them to know each other was the best way to start. To our surprise, it was clear that most of them already knew each other when we started.
In a way, we feel like we need to start from the beginning to get to where the guys should be. The group almost feels a little clique-like, and we don’t want to alienate students right out of the gate. It is almost necessary to break down existing bonds in order to build them back up to be stronger with each other.
This week I really want to encourage our guys to break out of their comfort zone. I want them to see that the 12 guys in our group aren’t there by accident. They are in the group for a reason. I want them to think of each other as brothers, who build each other up and support each other. They’re in this group for the long haul, and no amount of isolation will get in the way of making this group into the one God desires.
Matt: Our first week of small group went very well with the exception of there was clearly a division between the guys who haven’t been in a group together for the past two years and the guys who are new to this group. Don’t get me wrong, they all got along really well, but there clearly were some lines drawn between the new group vs. old group. This week I need to move everyone out of their comfort zone, and the first thing will be to move them to sit someplace else. Once everyone gets seated I want to change up the seating order.
Last week I gave them some homework for this week. I asked them to be prepared to tell something interesting about themselves and something funny about themselves. My co-leader and I will go first so we can help make it less awkward and I’ve done so many stupid funny things that I can embarrass myself and get the ball rolling and get them laughing. It makes it easier to learn more about each other when we do it through laughter. Second I’ve asked some of the “core” guys in the group to reach out to the new guys to help them feel like they are a part of the group.
I’ve also scheduled some serve projects to help them grow as a group, serving God is a great way to get a group to bond together.