Hosting a small group is an opportunity to grow in faith while serving others. This is an opportunity not just for study, but for growing in faith through discipleship, mentoring, and creating meaningful connections.
Here are ten tips for hosting groups of all kinds with joy that will infect both your life and the lives of those around you.
1. Commit Only to What You Can Do Joyfully
Hosting is a huge responsibility. You should not offer to do anything that you cannot do with joy. This does not mean that hosting will never be a challenge, of course! Carefully consider how much you can stretch yourself while maintaining a joyful and giving attitude.
2. Be Honest About Your Needs and Limitations
Hosting doesn’t have to mean doing it all yourself. It is okay to ask for help in planning and leading your group as well as with logistical issues such as cleaning, preparing refreshments, and setting up a space. Expect the same grace and helpful spirit from others that you would give to them.
3. Don’t Overdo It
Creating a welcoming and warm space will require effort. You should pick up, vacuum or sweep, and ensure that there is adequate space for the expected guests. However, your home does not have to be immaculate. If you plan to offer refreshments, it is fine to offer simple fare or delegate it to another group member. Don’t let extraneous details become an idol.
4. Create an Intimate and Welcoming Space
Creating the right space for a small group will ensure that the group meets the spiritual needs of everyone involved. Ensure that there is ample seating and that you have all necessary materials in the room. If your meeting space is large, move the furniture closer so people can interact with ease.
5. Minimize Interruptions
Interruptions will keep the group from fully engaging with each other. Turn off televisions, telephones, and electronic distractions. Put your pets away in another room or in a crate. Ask group members to silence phones as well. Engaging with each other uninterrupted will allow more discipleship and joyful connections.
6. Know Your Faith Community’s Expectations
Different churches have different expectations of group leaders. Some expect you to host in your home while others will provide a space. Some expect you to prepare the lessons while others have a set curriculum. Communication and understanding expectations will ensure less frustration and more joy.
7. Reject Worry
It’s easy to worry about hosting. You may worry that your home is not nice enough, that you are not capable of leading, that the group will not go as planned. These worries do nothing to prevent issues but they do steal your joy. Do your best and leave the rest up to God.
8. Be Flexible About Attendance
There is no way to control attendance, so handle changes gracefully. This is one area that is truly up to God. Welcome those who come warmly, show newcomers around, and follow up with those who don’t attend later. Focus on making everyone in attendance feel wanted.
9. Add an Extra Layer of Prayer
Prayer is the best way to maintain joy in hosting. Pray while planning and setting up, pray after the group, and pray regularly for everyone involved. Pray that your group be a source of learning and spiritual growth. There are some things that we cannot control, so take it to God.
10. Keep the Focus on People
It’s easy to forget that group study is about people. Even if things don’t go according to your plan, everything is according to a higher plan. Let your Bible study be a place to connect on a spiritual level with other believers; the rest is all extra. God and people are always the priorities.
If you need help hosting a Bible study or other group, consider StudyChurch. StudyChurch can help you connect the rest of the week. Hosting a small group is demanding, but with the right attitude and the right tools it can be an experience filled with joy.
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