A couple years ago, we started a small groups ministry in our church - though we call them Life Groups, since our church is called Abundant Life Church. Small groups of some kind are fairly common in many churches and organizations, and they can be done in many different ways. However, the way that we have figured out works best for our church is like this:
We have two semesters each year – one in the spring and one in the fall – that are each eight to twelve weeks long. At the start of the semester, we have a Life Group Fair after church on Sunday morning where we have tables set up advertising each Life Group. We decorate our fellowship hall with a different theme each time, and serve light refreshments for people to snack on while they browse the group selections and choose one to participate in. The groups range from Bible Study or prayer groups to groups purely for fun and fellowship. It can be a big commitment to put together a group and stay consistent with weekly or biweekly meetings, but the benefit of these groups to the church body is immense! They offer a chance for people to connect outside the walls of the church, often with people they normally wouldn’t have a chance to talk to after service. These smaller, more intimate settings also often make people, especially new converts, feel more comfortable opening up and asking questions. Small groups truly are one of the most effective tools for growing church unity and, especially, for discipleship!
If your church is thinking of starting up a Small Groups program, or you already have one and need some new ideas, check out the list below with groups our church has done, plus a few additional ideas that I love!
This is the group my husband and I are going to host this semester (it's our first one to host together, too!). It's a group for couples who have been married for ten years or less and we will be meeting bi-weekly for fellowship. One of our meetings will include some teaching from my grandmother, who worked in Young Marrieds' ministry for many, many years with my grandfather, who passed away last year (they were happily married for nearly 56 years!). Our last event will be a "fancy" date night where we get dressed up and go to a nice restaurant in our area. I'm super excited to start this group and see how it goes!
Before we had a true Hyphen department that hosted weekly events like our youth group does, we did a Life Group for young adult ages 18-30. This group met weekly or bi-weekly for a variety of activities, both at people's houses and out in town.
Walk and Talk
We did this as a women's walking group that met one morning a week and then usually went to breakfast afterward. You could also do this as a men's group as well!
This has been a popular group of ours for the last several semesters! This group is for ladies who love to craft! They meet in our church fellowship hall (twice a month, I think) and work on DIY home decor projects together.
Men’s Breakfast and Prayer
We technically keep this group going throughout the year (along with our ladies prayer group that meets once a week), but we advertise it during our Life Group Fair. This group of men meets on Saturday mornings to pray and then eat breakfast together, either at the church or a local restaurant.
This group is for stay-at-home moms, especially those who homeschool and want to get their kids out of the house to socialize with their friends. They will meet up for fun field-trip-like outings or playdates in a park or even just lunch at Chick-fil-a. This is a great chance for moms who may feel isolated and lonely to connect with their sisters in Christ!
This has been another popular group for us, sticking around pretty much every semester. Like the name suggests, this group of ladies meets once a week for brunch at various restaurants around town or in someone's home.
We had this group in our first semester of Life Groups, and it was super fun. It was a ladies book club--though you could easily do one for men, too. We read a book together throughout the semester and discussed it at each meeting.
Another fan-favorite! The name is pretty self-explanatory--you meet every Tuesday and eat tacos!
Grillin’ n’ Chillin’
This group is for those who love to grill! Or who at least love to eat grilled food! They would meet biweekly for delicious food, fellowship, and outdoor games at someone's home.
I don't know about your church, but we have a ton of men who love to play "Corn Hole" in our church! It's been a bit since we've done this group, but it was super popular. They simply met at the church or someone's house and had Corn Hole tournaments, food, and fellowship!
Thrift Store Shopping
My mom hosted this group several semesters ago, and I know she had come up with a catchy name, but I can't, for the life of me, remember it now! This group was for ladies who love to go thrift/antique shopping! We would meet bi-weekly and go to local shops, plus have breakfast or lunch together. It was so much fun!
Habits & Hangups
This is a group we had last semester, and we will be having it again this time. As the name suggests, this group is for those struggling with addictions and is obviously one of the more serious groups. We try to keep this group especially small to protect people's privacy and make them comfortable with talking about their struggles. We also make sure that the leaders of the group are people our pastor trusts to teach the lessons and handle these difficult conversations with wisdom and grace. This type of group can be an immense blessing to new converts in your church!
Want some more ideas? Here's a list of other groups we've done that I can't remember the name for, or groups we've yet to try:
- Cooking Class (for men, women, or both)
- Hymn Lovers group (meet together and have a sing-a-long of favorite hymns)
- Anger Management Class
- Couponing Group
- Sign Language Class
- Spanish Class
- Endtimes Prophecy Class (watching videos from Endtime Ministries)
- "Search for Truth" Bible Study class (this curriculum is available from the Pentecostal Publishing House)
- P7 Bible Club (for youth/young adults)
- Basketball Group
- Biking and/or Hiking Group
- Bowling Group
- Scrapbooking Group
- Community Service Group (do volunteer work in your community together)
- Parenting Class
- Painting Class
- Fishing Group
- Outreach Group (do outreach in your community together)
- Game Night Group
AND MORE! The possibilities are endless!