If you don't need to choose your group's next study yet, it's just a matter of time. Eventually, every group finishes what they're studying and begins the next one.
5 practical tips for getting the most out of your next study:
1. How long your group has been meeting determines whether you should seek group members' opinions or not.
Groups that have only been meeting a short time (three months or less), may not have the relational strength to survive a discussion, debate or vote about what to do next. If your group is relatively new, it is usually best to ask your small group or director for a single recommendation (i.e., "What would be the best study for our group to do next?").
More experienced groups often enjoy choosing what's next from a short list of three or four options.
2. Give some thought to choosing a study that meets your group members' growth needs.
Think about your group members. Do they have some obvious areas of challenge? How's their spiritual growth and development? Do they have some spiritual muscles that are underdeveloped?
Some churches find Saddleback's Spiritual Health Assessment and Plan to be helpful in encouraging group members to self-assess and choose a study that will help shore up an area of weakness. This assessment is based on the 5 purposes (Fellowship, Discipleship, Ministry, Mission, and Worship) and helps group members complete a very simple evaluation.
3. Consider which of your members may be ready for a new challenge (and invite them to take a next step).
Beginning a new study is an excellent time to invite one or more of your members to take a turn leading the discussion or serving as a sub-group leader. As you make plans, simply have a conversation and invite them to "give it a try in an upcoming session."
Beginning a new study is an excellent time to invite one or more of your members to take a turn leading the discussion or serving as a sub-group leader. As you make plans, simply have a conversation and invite them to give it a try in… Click To Tweet
You'll want to ask them privately (not in front of everyone). Promise them the help they need to feel comfortable. And sometimes, asking them to lead a part of a session is just the right amount of challenge.
In addition, a new study might be a great time to invite someone else to open up their home for group meetings. Coordinating snacks, leading prayer time or keeping a prayer list are other ways that members can be encouraged to take a next step and share the load of leading.
4. The best time to invite a few new members is when you're preparing to begin a new study.
If you need to add a few new members to your group, it can be helpful to keep that in mind as you choose what to study next and when to begin. Never forget that the topic of your study plays an important role in determining who will say "yes" to attending.
If you need to add a few new members to your group, it can be helpful to keep that in mind as you choose what to study next and when to begin. Never forget that the topic of your study plays an important role in determining who will… Click To Tweet
Begin inviting potential new members a few weeks ahead of beginning a new study. Giving them time to say "yes" will help more people make arrangements to attend.
Consider planning a social event just before the new study begins. A backyard cookout or themed potluck and trivia night goes a long way toward helping potential new members ease into the group.
5. Take a look at the calendar before beginning a new study.
Timing is everything! Pulling out the calendar and looking ahead at the next couple months can help your group make plans to complete the study you choose.
Noting that spring break or Thanksgiving is a few weeks away shouldn't deter you from beginning a new study, but it should cause you to plan for a break in the action (i.e., "I'm noticing that spring break is the week before Easter. Should we plan to take that night off and resume the following week?").
Many small group ministries provide a game-plan for "surviving the holidays" or ideas for staying connected during the summer.
Looking for other skill training ideas? Click here for additional resources.