- Read as needed. If you're experienced starting and leading small groups, you might want to skip the information below. If you're new to leading a mission's study in small groups, or you just want a refresher course, then consider reading on.
- Pick your start date. Picking a start date accelerates planning. You can pick a specific date and time or pick a week and narrow the exact day and time based on the availability of those who want to attend.
- Hold to the start and end dates, and times. Honoring your dates and times gives people confidence to contine attending. Use a 90 time frame. You can always hang out after the end time to mingle. This gives people an easy exit point if they have other commitments. Mingle time is a great relationship building time. If you meet in person consider providing something to drink and munch on.
- Close the Group. There are a few reasons to close a group. The first is the meetings are sequential in nature. They do not lend themselves to new attenders. Second, closing the group keeps it from growing beyond a size that easily accommodates sharing and discussion. Generally speaking, more than 12 people make it hard for everyone to be heard by everyone else. Consider breakouts of 4-6 people if your group is this size. The third reason to close the group is to establish trust, increase bonding, and create a safe place to share.
- Decide your location. A private location is preferred because of the closed nature of the group and the need for a quiet atmosphere for viewing videos. A home or other private space is ideal. If you meet in person, think about the 3Ps: Parking, Pets, and Parenting (childcare). Is there adequate parking? Do pets need to be restrained? Is there going to be childcare?
- Review the material. Pick the subject matter from each POD before you start. Each meeting may contain more material than your group has time to discuss in one session. Tailor the content to fit the needs of your situation. For online viewing, screen sharing and alternating readers is and effective way to interact with the content.
- Prepare your video presentation.
If you meet in person, test the video links before your first meeting. Make every effort to watch the videos. They are exceptionally well done and very powerful. Don't wait until just before the first meeting to test your setup. Make sure you have the right adaptors and cables, or streaming pathway. Use a large-screen TV, laptop, tablet, or even a phone depending on the size of your group. In case a video link is broken, most of the videos in each POD are also located in the Videos section of this website. Contact us, if you have problems with the video links.
If you meet online, rehearse the best way to view the videos. Watching them through Zoom by screen sharing results in lower quality audio and video. Consider sending the video link to everyone in the group via chat, then having them watch the video on their own device at the same time, and returning for discussion afterward. Be sure to mute everyone during viewing if you choose this route.
- Choose your meeting format. In person meetings are natural and highly relational. Virtual meetings are more normal than ever before. Learn how to host Zoom meetings if you choose to go virtual. If you meet via Zoom make sure your attender know they don't need to pay for it. Also, be ready to problem solve during the first meeting.
- Learn how to lead a Zoom meeting. Be able to use the following resources: schedule a meeting, send meeting links, chat, breakouts, screen share (for one or all), host sharing.
- Invite people. Extend invitations in person or online. Promote the class and gather sign ups. Confirm those who express an interest. Consider using the following video as a promotional tool. Reaching the Unreached (4:20)
- Do a special debrief during the fifth week. Leave time during Community time the last week for two items: Next Step options and feedback.
Next Step options consist of asking the group what they want to do next. Do they want to opt out? Do they want to do another POD? Do they want to join the virtual prayer team?
Ask them to answer two questions, "What did you like best?" and "What is one way we can improve?" You can get this feedback in person, vial email or text.
- Let us know how we can help. We're here to coach, encourage and equip as needed. Just reach us through the contact button and inform us of your needs.