SGM Planning

Questions for the Small Group Ministry Planning Team

When preparing for small group ministry in your congregation, there are many questions that the planning team should consider, so as to organize a healthy, beneficial ministry program. Here are some useful questions to consider:

  • How could your congregation benefit from a Small Group Ministry program?
    • What positive impacts on congregational life do you anticipate?
    • How will individuals benefit?
  • How will you recruit, train and support facilitators and apprentice facilitators?
    • What qualities and skills do you need?
    • Do facilitators and apprentices need to be members of the congregation?
    • Who will lead the facilitators’ stream?
    • What time commitment are you asking them for?
    • How often are group meetings?
    • How often will facilitators meet?
    • What will be included in the position description?
  • How are groups formed and managed?
    • Will groups be open at all times?
    • Will group members be assigned?
    • How inclusive are groups?
    • How will difficult group members be dealt with?
    • What is the role of the facilitator and the other group members?
    • How will group covenants be developed?
    • Are those who are not affiliated with the congregation welcome in groups?
    • Will groups organize around interests (affinity groups) or will they work from a list of topics?
    • Will groups ‘seed’ or ‘split’ once they reach a maximum size (about 10-12)?
    • How will people indicate interest in joining a group?
    • May people try a group before committing?
      • If so, for how long?
  • What expectations will you have of group members?
    • Is a commitment to regular attendance a prerequisite of joining a group?
    • Are group members expected to participate in congregational life or to be in basic agreement with UU principles and the congregational mission/purpose?
  • How are meetings conducted?
    • Where are meetings held?
    • How often will they meet?
    • How long are meetings?
    • Will they start & finish on time?
    • Will refreshments (consider alcohol) be part of the meetings?
  • What is meant by confidentiality?
    • What are the benefits and drawbacks of absolute confidentiality?
    • Will personal safety issues supercede confidentiality issues?
  • What role do groups play in the lives of those with significant life issues?
    • Are group members expected to provide practical support (drives, meals etc.)
    • How will the group define and keep the boundary between support, care, and therapy?