Small groups are like gardens. You have to continually nourish, protect, feed and tend to them in order to support their growth. It’s essential that both small group leaders and members learn how to tend the community garden. Keeping your group organized and implementing simple communication tools are the soil and water that give your garden a solid foundation and help members feel supported and stable.
At FaithVillage, we hope to supply just the right resources to equip you with a green thumb or two. Here’s a list of websites that are sure to make your garden grow, and they’re totally free. And everyone loves FREE!
Who wants to go to Group when there’s no food served? I know my small group makes food one of the top priorities. You can use Sign Up Genius so members can decide what food or drink they want to bring. This way, one person doesn’t get stuck bringing chips and salsa every time. Other ideas may include a volunteer sign up list, a church coffee schedule, community festival worker list or your holiday party RSVP. Sign Up Genius sends email reminders to members and even gives you the option to swap tasks with someone else.
Making sure everyone in your group hears about the party you’re planning can be stressful. One person wasn’t at the meeting when you made the announcement, and suddenly they feel left out. Evite makes inviting group members to a holiday party, birthday, celebration or community service project super easy and fun. Personalize your invitation by uploading photos and get notified when people respond.
If you’re sick of digging through your suggestion box after Group, consider using Ta-da Lists. Compile all your suggestions, ideas, prayer requests and praise reports in separate organized lists online. You can share all your lists with group members and access them on your phone. Other uses of Ta-da lists might include discussion points, books to read and movies to watch. If you’re like me, the more lists (which means the more things I can potentially cross off), the better!
Don’t worry. You don’t need to scramble to assimilate tons of data and research to be a good small group leader. However, occasionally kicking off your Bible study with a short survey may be a good introduction to the next week’s topic. It may even motivate members to think about it before arriving. You can start picking your members’ brains before they even get to Group. For example, you could send your group members a survey on how they feel about a certain topic and then integrate those results in your presentation. When you get the BASIC Plan on SurveyMonkey, you get everything you need. We’re not trying to be rocket scientists, remember?
Photo Apps for Your Phone
More and more of us are using our phones to capture Kodak moments and post them to Facebook and Twitter instantaneously. Still, these phone applications are fresh and trendy for reporting social activities on-the-go and sending event photos to members.
If you’re interested, look at this complete list of photosharing apps, their sharing options and appropriate device.
How do you grow your garden? Any new tips or other resources you want to share?
Originally posted September 28, 2011.