Skill Training: Design Your Group Meeting for Life-Change

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life changeWant to have the kind of group where real life-change happens? Want to know that you're meeting is actually designed to be the "optimal environment for life-change?"

The way your meeting is designed makes a difference. Remember, your meeting is perfectly designed to produce the results you're currently experiencing.*

The way your meeting is designed makes a difference. Remember, your meeting is perfectly designed to produce the results you're currently experiencing.* Share on X

Here are the key ingredients for life-change:

  • A life-changing leader. It may go without saying that life-change is less likely when there isn't a life-changing leader, but this is an essential ingredient. See also, 8 Habits of a Life-Changing Leader
  • A welcoming and inviting atmosphere. This is about a genuine sense of hospitality. A relaxing and comfortable space goes a long way in setting the mood for a productive meeting. Some groups never have more than something to drink and a little to nibble on. Others begin every meeting with a meal together.
  • An irrepressible sense of joy and fun. There will be times when you just can't stop laughing. There will be the sense that God is laughing or smiling right along with everyone else.
  • A predictable start and stop time. This is often overlooked. There may be groups that can function without clear expectations about when the meeting starts and stops...but they are not the norm.
  • A sense of safety. The security that weaknesses and struggles can be expressed is an essential ingredient. The knowledge that what is shared here, stays here, cannot be overemphasized.
  • A growing trust that group members have each other's best interests in mind. This means members can be tender and tough. This means there can be authenticity and vulnerability. As there is the offer to come as you are, there is the challenge to not stay that way.
  • The infusion of God's word. There might be meetings where there is only a meal, game-night or a movie...but there will be a growing sense that this is a biblically functioning community.
  • There will be much more than teaching. There will be multifaceted communication. Far beyond leader to members or even member to leader, there will be member to member, too. Group time will be a conversation and it will include affirmation and challenge, celebration and shared sorrow.
  • There will be both intentionality and spontaneity. A pathway will be laid out and the unexpected will be welcomed.
  • There will be a prayer that pervades the meeting...and it won't stop when the meeting ends. A sensitivity to the movement of the Holy Spirit will prompt the group to stop and pray for each other. There may be a time to pray at the end of the meeting, but it won't be the only time that prayer happens.
  • The meeting might have a start and stop time...but there will be lots of contact outside the meeting. In fact, it will seem natural to do life together and odd to only see each other at the meeting.

Question: Is your meeting designed with these ingredients? Which ingredients do you need to add?

*This is a version of the Andy Stanley quote, "Your ministry is perfectly designed to produce the results you are currently experiencing."

Further Reading:

8 Commitments for Small Group Leaders

8 Habits of a Life-Changing Leader

Looking for other skill training ideas?  Click here for additional resources.

Image by Antoine Gady

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  1. BrandonBaker on March 5, 2013 at 6:47 am

    Thank you for this post. I sent it to all my group leaders this morning.

  2. markchowell on March 5, 2013 at 6:49 am

    Thanks Brandon! I’m planning to write a post each week with “how tos” for each of the design elements.


  3. Nate on March 28, 2013 at 11:13 am

    Good ideas. I think we do all these.

  4. markchowell on March 28, 2013 at 11:29 am

    Thanks Nate!

  5. Andrew Mason on August 12, 2013 at 9:33 am

    Great list here! Practical and powerful…

  6. markchowell on August 12, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    Thanks Andrew!