Tips for Leaders of Small Groups


As we progress in the Christian life, we mature in Christ and grow in the love of God and neighbor. The Upper Room® understands small groups to be an integral part of Christian spiritual formation as we watch over each other in love. The Upper Room offers support for small group ministries in the church so that groups may be more effective arenas for spiritual growth. Here are a few tips to help you lead an effective small group:

  • Begin and end with a scripture reading and prayer. Allow members to voice their prayer concerns or joys.
  • Remind members that the group is a forum for respectful, open discussion and mutual learning. Vital groups invite people to reflect on sensitive or even controversial issues. A spirit of humility and a genuine desire to learn from others enriches the experiences of the group members.
  • Invite contributions from all, but respect members who choose to remain silent. Encourage members to share ideas and experiences briefly so that one member doesn't dominate the sessions.
  • Keep discussions moving within the focus of the planned topic, but always be sensitive to what's being shared by members. Gently guide the discussion back on track after acknowledging members' statements.
  • Ask members to evaluate the sessions regularly. Make adjustments to strengthen fellowship within the group. Use simple questions such as: What went well? What did you learn? What could be improved?

Recognizing that small groups take many forms and serve many purposes, The Upper Room offers different resources for small groups, including accountability groups (the Emmaus® reunion group model), study groups (study books and workbooks), intercessory prayer groups (Covenant Prayer groups), and devotional materials for small groups.