For those who have never led a small group, the prospect of starting such an endeavor might appear daunting and overwhelming given the busy lifestyle of those in the military. Here are tips for the new leader to consider both before and after his or her first meeting.
Before the First Meeting
1. Pray about starting a group. Let the Holy Spirit speak before launching on your own strength. If you still feel led, then pray about whom to invite, what to study, when to meet, and where to meet.
2. Find a wingman. It may be your spouse or another couple if you are thinking of a home Bible study.For a workplace study, find a like-minded Christian co-worker.
3. Invite initial participants. Face-to-face invitations often work best. However, with our changing technology and methods of communication, you may find a group text, email, or Facebook message is equally as effective.
4. Be prepared. The core element of the OCF small group is the study of the Bible. The leader is expected to come prepared through prior, personal study.
What to do After the First Meeting
1. Assess your group. After the first meeting you’ll have a better idea of what the group prefers and needs. Is childcare an issue? Is proximity to dinner a problem? Develop a strategy to meet group needs.
2. Undergird your plan in regular prayer. Continue to keep the group in prayer. Find some personal prayer partners who will encourage and pray for and with you.
3. As you grow, plan to divide the study. This needs to be understood from the start so that you do not meet with resistance when the time comes.
4. Review notes from the previous study, and prepare for the next one. Sometimes there is a topic of immediate interest that warrants searching the Scriptures to see what the Bible says.