Should I Open My Small Group? 3 Questions to Ask Your Group
Should I open my Small Group to new people? Or is it better to keep the members we have right now? Every Small Group Leader wrestles with this problem, especially if they want to keep their group from growing stagnant. Here are three questions to ask yourself or your group to decide if it’s time to open up to new people.
1. Do We Have Deep Relationships With Each Other? If “Yes,” I May Want to Open My Small Group!
Perhaps your group has been together for a year or less and you don’t feel like you’ve reached a good depth of intimacy yet. That may mean you should wait a little longer before opening the group to others and, instead, focus on deepening relationships between existing members.
Here are some questions to gauge your current depth of intimacy:
- Are you sharing heart-level prayer requests (not just about others or physical sicknesses)?
- Do group members spend time with one another outside of the regular gathering?
- Is talking about personal sin struggles common (even if it’s mainly in the men’s or women’s breakout times)?
- If someone was going through a crisis, would they tell anyone in the group?
Alternately, you may have a Small Group that has been together for a relatively long time. Just because the group has been together for months or years doesn’t mean that you’ve reached a healthy depth in relationships, but it is more likely.
If you have strong relationships with each other, it is tempting to keep newcomers away to protect your existing friendships. If you and the group pray about this and sense the Lord leading you to continue in deep friendships without adding new members, that’s okay.
But, instead, it may be better to say, “Open my Small Group!” and allow new members to bless the group and be blessed by the existing culture of rich relationships.
2. Do We Need Some Fresh Energy and Voices? If “Yes,” I May Want to Open My Small Group!
Are you able to guess what another person in your group is going to say before they say it? It may be time to add new voices!
Are your group members flagging in enthusiasm for living life together and opening up God’s Word together? You probably need some fresh passion from newcomers!
Every group has seasons of low energy. But one of the most helpful ways to regain momentum is by adding new members. They can bring all kinds of helpful elements to the group:
- Fresh experiences
- Different perspectives
- Diverse personalities
- And even new needs
All of which help to give the group a jump start to get back on mission with renewed interest.
3. What Concerns Do You Have? If Addressable, I May Want to Open My Small Group!
Your Small Group may have emotional concerns about adding new people to the group:
- Will adding new men or women to the mix feel awkward because we don’t know them as well?
- If the new people are different (in age, stage, etc.) than the majority of our group, will that create a relational difficulty for us or them?
- What if I don’t feel comfortable being as vulnerable when there are “new” people here?
Instead of emotional concerns, your group might have practical concerns:
- If we add another family with children, what will we do for childcare?
- Do we have enough space in this house/living room to add more people?
- Right now, everyone only gets a few minutes to share their prayer requests. Will we need to rethink how to make space for everyone to share if we add more people?
All of these are helpful questions. And many of these may be able to be adequately addressed by you or the group (e.g. moving the group to another person’s house with a larger living room, etc.). But they may also uncover a reason you would want to wait as a group and not open in this season.
Either way, all three of these questions help create a conversation with your group. And they provide an opportunity to remind your group about a larger vision: creating community for other men and women in our church so that as many people as possible can find hope together.
Assistant Pastor of Small Groups & Membership
Bob first joined staff at College Park as a Pastoral Resident in 2011 and has served in several important roles since that time. In 2018, Bob became the Assistant Pastor of Small Groups & Membership. In this role, Bob gives leadership and direction to the Small Group ministry by recruiting, training, and supporting Small Group Leaders and Coaches, as well as overseeing the membership process and covenant member care.
Bob is passionate about seeing men and women enter into community with others to find hope together. He enjoys spending time with his wife, family, and friends.