Small Group Lifecycle


Stage

Questioning

Group Dynamics

Strategies

Birth
This is the time in which group member forge relationships. This group will spend more time getting to know one another and finding their place in the group.

•Do I belong to this group?
•Will I be accepted or rejected here?
•What will the meetings be like?
•What commitments will the group ask me to make?

•Relationships are relatively superficial.
•Minimal self-disclosure.
•Everything and everyone is nice at this stage. Much "small talk".
•Members look for common ground.

•Allow sufficient time for personal sharing and for members to get to know each other.
•Help members establish trust by creating a climate that respects opinions and feelings of members.
•Affirm member's participation and contributions.

Transition
Here the group beings to care for one another and work through conflicts and differences as they seek to apply what they learn through Bible Study, worship and prayer.

•Will the group reject me if I share what I really feel?
•Will I look foolish if i'm honest?
•Why are we focusing on these things?
•Who am I in this group?

•Greater self-disclosure.
•Members struggling to stay 'safe' while wanting to risk being involved
•Differences and conflicts surface as members want more say and influence.

•Allow members to express themselves more, leader can talk less.
•Facilitate working out of conflicts in constructive ways.
•Assign responsibilities to core members.
•Jointly evaluate group with members and develop focus/goals.

Community
The group is united and has established trust. They pursue deeper accountability and encourage one another to serve and reach out to others.

•What can we do for others?

•A "we-ness" and cohesiveness is present.
•Members committed to one another and look out for one another without leader's prompting.
•Feedback is given freely and accepted without defensiveness.

•Build on friendships by encouraging deeper accountability.
•Challenge members to exercise their gifts in service.
•Encourage members in personal outreach to invite friends to the group.
•Evaluate potential leaders in preparation for multiplication.

Multiply
The group has grown and seeks to multiply. Members pray about their involvement in new groups. The "new" groups begin the life cycle again with the Birth stage.

•How can we continue and share this blessing with others?

•Group size has grown sufficiently large (>12) such that it becomes difficult to experience community. However, most will not raise this issue due to comfort zone.
•Fringe or new members may be unintentionally neglected due to group size and strong relationships within core members.

•Nurture potential leaders to assume a leadership role in the group.
•Allow enough lead time to talk about and prepare group for multiplication.

 

 

 

 

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