Thinking of starting a women’s small group? Need some ideas? Women’s small groups are important for spiritual growth and take leadership, faith-focus, and age integration to help them thrive.
Take the lead
Leadership is one of the most important elements of a women’s small group. Your leader can make the group dissolve or grow. A common mistake that people make when doing a small group is they get overloaded and aren’t there for their members. Be sure to take time to hang out with the ladies in your small group individually. A one on one coffee hour or lunch at a fun restaurant can show your women that you really care. For any of those shy or introverted females, a one on one time with you may be essential to get them out of their shell. I am not saying that you have to hang out with these ladies outside of the group every week, but do make a concerted effort to spend time with each small group member at least once. That one time will at least help them feel connected and comfortable and will encourage them to reach out to their fellow members.
Another part of being there for your ladies is to offer help when someone is in need. If a girl is moving into a new apartment, get the group together and go help her! If a baby shower or birthday is coming up, try to attend or celebrate to help that woman feel special. Don’t view your small group as purely a do-gooder activity; get excited about building real relationships and helping girls because you want to. People can tell if you are just trying to be nice and if you don’t really care. Small groups are about building the church community, so don’t treat your members as people who just come and go. Reach into their lives.
Focus on faith
Just as you are focusing on being a real friend to the women in your small group, also be intentional about the ministry side of this meeting. Whether you decide to make a Bible study-focused or socially-focused small group, the whole idea is that you are part of women’s ministry at your church. Whether it’s praying at the beginning or end of your meeting or even talking about what God has been showing you in your life, your group should have some spiritual element to it. A Bible study group is great to go through different scriptures or even through a study book. An activity-based group can have an advantage, too, as you can more easily get unchurched women involved. Women’s small group time may be the only church that some women experience. This is why it is crucial to not assume that everyone is reading her Bible or going to Sunday’s sermon. We are all human and we all need to be reminded of Christ as the center of our lives. Be that spiritual encouragement and reminder to your ladies.
Age is just a number so mix it up
One last characteristic of a small group that can be a challenge is the age factor. If your church has high attendance, separating groups by age may be the best way to make these groups work. If your church is smaller, you may have a group or two that encompasses all women in the church. However you structure your groups, be sure that you take an intergenerational approach on some level. The Bible calls for older women to teach the younger women. We all can learn and benefit from one another, so find ways to get women of different ages together. Perhaps you can bring all women’s small groups together for a Saturday morning brunch or a women’s conference. Leadership comes in once again as getting leaders of each group involved can encourage all of your church ladies to attend. I have a few retired women from my church that I talk to and I love receiving their encouragement and wisdom. A couple of these women help lead a small group for all ages and it has worked out great.
I hope you will be encouraged to start a small group at your church or at least to get involved in one. Sometimes it can be scary to take on that responsibility or even to meet new people. Take that first step and just try it out! You’re not alone–God is with you–and He will take care of you. He will send people to help you and give you and your fellow ladies great ideas. Women at your church all need girl time, so have some fun by getting these ladies together!