How to Bust Small Group Busters


Small group busters often arise when expectations aren't clearly established from the get-go, or when a healthy group cruises on auto-pilot and allows bad habits to creep in. Here's what you can do about it.

Do these small group busters sound familiar?

  • Sarah routinely arrives fifteen minutes late.
  • Jennifer derails the discussion to superficial topics.
  • Stephanie attends half the meetings and rarely notifies you when she's not coming.
  • Tina never says a word.
  • Marie, on the other hand . . .

Leader, are you getting a headache yet?

Busters Because . . .

Small group busters often arise when expectations aren't clearly established from the get-go, or when a healthy group cruises on auto-pilot, and bad habits creep in.

Busters Busted

Many small group busters you bump into can be averted by establishing a community covenant. A covenant is an agreement expressing group practices, expected behavior, and shared values. When members sign their "Jane Hancock" on the document, it validates mutual agreement and responsibility for a positive community experience. A covenant also serves to avoid unmet expectations and misunderstandings.

The best agreements specify a time limit. Will it last for one year, or for the length of a particular study? At subsequent intervals, review key points of the covenant during a group meeting. As the leader, you'll be expected to winsomely enforce the guidelines as need arises.

Read on for eight suggested values to include in a group covenant. Then customize it to fit your group needs.

8 Small Group Values

  • Confidentiality What I hear and see in the group will stay in the group.
  • Authenticity I will be as open with my life as I can be at this time.
  • Love I will affirm you no matter what you have said and done in the past. I will love you as you are now and pray for God to continue to transform you into the likeness of His Son.
  • Accountability I will ask the group to hold me accountable for specific areas of my life. With my permission you can ask me about the goals I set regarding God, my family, my personal life, and the world. I expect you to lovingly not "let me off the hook."
On the basis of Proverbs 27:17, I ask you to please share with me areas in my life that do not reflect Jesus, because I want to grow in personal holiness.
  • Prayer I promise to pray for others in my group on a regular basis, lifting them up to the Lord.
  • Encouragement I understand every woman in this group is at a different point in her journey with the Lord. I will accept you the way you are, but encourage you to progress in becoming more like Jesus.
  • Commitment I will have my work completed when I come to group. I will choose to attend each weekly meeting even if I fall short. I will make every effort to be present and on time. It will have high priority in my schedule.
  • Participation I will do my part to keep the discussion centered on biblical truth and the text we're studying. I will contribute to the discussion without dominating. I will be sensitive in allowing members to share equally as we grow in Christ together. Scripture will be our final authority.

How will you incorporate a Small Group Covenant to bust pesky group busters?

Written by Leslie Bennet

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