At Highlands, we don’t just have Small Groups; we are a church of Small Groups! Our vision is that each and every person at Highlands would Know God, Find Freedom, Discover their Purpose, and Make a Difference - and freedom is found through Small Groups.
This means that our goal is to have every person at our church in a Small Group. Why? Because Small Groups are where we take next steps, where connection takes place, and where every person is prayed over daily! God’s Word is clear in this: When people confess to one another and talk through what God is doing in their lives, they will find freedom (James 5:16).
If you’re interested in implementing Small Groups at your church, check out these key elements to making Small Groups the place where people take next steps and find spiritual freedom:
1. Make it a priority.
Small Groups are essential to the health of a church, and we love showing off what God does through Small Groups! At Highlands, we make sure to share the “why” for Small Groups in weekend services and champion all that God has done through the life-changing relationships that Small Groups foster. By communicating the vision in weekend experiences, we remind and reinforce the heart behind Small Groups!
2. Create a free market system.
Each leader gets to pick the focus of his/her group. Generally, this is something they are already passionate about, such as watching football, reading a book, or more. When like-minded people come together around something they love, relationships are formed, conversations are had, and next steps are taken. One way to empower leaders is to provide resources for Small Group curriculum. If you’re looking for some ideas, check out this Small Group Curriculum on Grow Online!
3. Establish a semester calendar.
At Highlands, Small Groups run on a semester system, made up of either 6 or 13 weeks, depending on the season. Every Spring, Summer, and Fall begins a new chance to join or lead a Small Group. This allows entry points for new members and allows the church to highlight Small Groups multiple times a year, as well as recruit new leaders.
If you’re wanting to establish Small Group semesters, we encourage you to begin each semester by launching a Small Groups campaign, promoting the start of a new round of Small Groups.
4. Focus on leadership development.
There’s no getting around it. Your Small Groups will only be as healthy as your leaders, and leadership development is done relationally! Ensure that every Small Group leader has a “coach” or leader in his/her life, praying for them daily, having intentional conversations about their spiritual health, and guiding them through any challenges they may face.
The goal of Small Groups is simple: We want healthy relationships and connection to take place so that people will experience all that God has for them! By implementing these elements, we can enable people to take their next steps towards Christ.
Wanting to learn how to create a culture of healthy Small Groups, as well as learn more about the structure and organizational flow of Small Group leadership at Highlands? Check out the Small Groups Introduction course on Grow Online!