Where do Grace Groups meet?
- Meeting in public places (e.g., coffee shops, fast food stores, malls, etc.) have the following advantages:
- Able to reach new people
- Promotes an environment of safety
- Easier to find and access
- Can bring/buy own food
- Serves as a witness to community
What if a Grace Group meeting day falls on a holiday? What if a majority of members cannot attend the week’s meeting?
Because Grace Groups meet weekly, plan ahead to meet on another day earlier or later that week when all or a majority of members can attend. For consistency, fight to keep the meeting every week.
What is the duration of a weekly Grace Group meeting?
The duration of a meeting should be one hour up to the maximum of one hour and fifteen minutes. A meeting longer than the recommended length may hinder new people from wanting to return.
What is the general flow of a Grace Group meeting?
The flow of the meeting follows this acrostic G.R.O.U.P.
- G Gather together for a brief time of welcome and catch up
- R Read the discussion guide
- O Open up for discussion
- U Uphold one another’s needs in prayer
- P Pray specifically for each member’s endeavor in reaching out to new people
How do I make a new person feel welcomed in our Grace Group?
Most new people do not come unannounced. Usually a new person comes to the meeting because of an invitation and/or relationship with another member. This allows time to inform the Grace Group that a new person will be attending, and to be ready to welcome and interact with the new person with the goal of making meaningful connections.
- Be sensitive to new people. Protect them from feeling like they have to read or pray out loud at initial meetings they attend.
- Do not use Christian jargon when seekers or unbelievers are present. They may feel left out.
- Do not let anyone over talk or dominate the discussion.
How do I conduct an interactive discussion between members?
- Build an environment of honesty, trust, safety, and confidentiality. The Leader’s honesty and transparency sets the bar. Respect confidentiality; what is shared in Grace Group, stays in Grace Group.
- Encourage participation so that everyone has a chance to share and contribute. Gently encourage someone to speak, but do not force them if they are not ready.
- Remind the Grace Group regularly that everyone has something valuable to say.
- Have people talk to the Grace Group rather than just to the Leader.
- Ask active-listening questions such as, “What do you think about that?” or “Do you have something to add?”
- Be empathetic to others’ thoughts and feelings, allowing them to be vulnerable without fear of judgment or condemnation.
- Wisely use the scriptures from the Discussion Guide and other verses to address issues and opinions that arise.
How do I address an overly talkative or dominant personality in discussion?
- Before the discussion begins, remind the Grace Group that everyone has something valuable to say.
- If that type of person continues to over talk, ask to meet them after meeting to express your concern and appeal to them to let others speak.
- Before the next meeting, privately remind them to let others speak also.
How do I maintain confidentiality of matters shared in a Grace Group meeting?
- On a monthly basis, share with the Grace Group that an environment of honesty, trust, safety, and confidentiality is what allows members to genuinely share the challenges and failures they are facing or have faced. For example, “We all desire this kind of environment, so let’s work to build it. What is shared in the Grace Group, stays in the Grace Group.”
- If an issue of safety is disclosed (e.g., violence, self-destruction, etc.), talk with your Coach immediately.
How do I follow up on members and new people?
- If you continue to contact Grace Group members, they will continue to come.
- See pages 48-51 of The 8 Habits of Effective Small Group Leaders
How do I encourage and track progress of members going through Grow Through G.R.A.C.E. classes?
- Have someone from the Grace Group “walk” with them into the classes they need to attend.
- Use the Follow-up Tracking Sheet available from your Coach.
How do I encourage members to reach out and build connections with people far from God?
- Jesus called us to be “fishers of men.” Pray that the Holy Spirit would convict and convince that we each have a personal responsibility as a disciple to reach out.
- People do what people see the Leader doing. Openly share your “fishing stories” of your interactions with your “one.”
- Building connections means to start relationships that could be built around common connections (e.g., hobbies, recreations, occupations, life seasons, etc.)
- See pages 36-42 of The 8 Habits of Effective Small Group Leaders
How do I find an apprentice?
- See pages 66-68 of The 8 Habits of Effective Small Group Leaders
- What information, insights, or challenges regarding Grace Group meeting stood out to you? Why?
- What practices have you seen and experienced in a Grace Group that have promoted a safe environment of inclusion, warmth, honesty, love and challenge?
- What other questions do you have regarding Grace Group meetings?