Q: How often should a Group meet?
This is a really important question your Group needs to answer based both on the goals of the Group and how busy your Group members are. How you answer this question could affect the longevity and health of the Group, so be honest with yourself and your Group as to what the expectations should be.
We’ve found that the ideal Group meets frequently enough to keep relationships growing and momentum going, but not so much that meeting becomes burdensome. So that ideal number seems to be two to four times a month.
Groups that meet every week typically get together on Sunday mornings or Wednesday nights during church time. These Groups can take advantage of their children participating in weekly activities of their own while they meet, and these Groups usually use this time for Bible study, fellowship, and prayer.
Groups that meet a couple of times a month typically meet in a home, share a meal, and focus on fellowship and accountability.
Q: What is the purpose of Groups?
The best way to help understand the purpose of Groups is to first explain what it is not. It’s not about finding your best friend, not about finding a counselor for your marriage, and not about having a lunch date every Sunday. The real purpose of Groups is much deeper than that. It’s to provide a safe environment where participants can experience spiritual growth through biblical discussion, meaningful relationships, and redemptive accountability. It’s where Group members can open up and share their struggles, their burdens, and their questions about faith.
Q: How can I join a Group?
There are three ways to join a Group at FBC Loganville. The first is to join an existing Group of people that you already know. This is something that has to be agreeable to the existing Group and to you, of course. But if you’ve been around our church for a while, you likely already have some existing relationships. Joining in with those friends can be a natural fit.
Secondly, you can form a new Group. Consider those with whom you already have relationships as possible members of a new Group. If they are not already part of another active Group, invite them to become part of your Starter Group. The Starter Group curriculum has been designed to help potential Group members determine if this particular Group is the best fit for them, offer guidance on how the Group should be formed, and ensure that all new Groups get a healthy start. For more information on this, please read Six Steps to Forming and Maintaining Healthy Groups.
The third way to join a Group is to join us in Connections. Connections is primarily for those who are new to FBCL and those who have been attending for a while but haven’t been able to connect with others. It’s important to note that one visit to Connections doesn’t usually result in you finding the perfect people for your Group. Commit to joining us for ten-weeks so that you can get to know a lot of different people. Odds are you will find others in the same chapter of life as you who are also looking to form a Group. Connections is designed to get you connected to God’s Word and God’s people here at our church.
Q: How can I start a Group?
Starting Groups isn’t our goal. Starting healthy Groups is. We’ve been doing Groups for a number of years, and we’ve learned a few things over that time about what ingredients make a healthy, lasting, vibrant Group of which its members are excited to be a part.
Start by identifying people to whom you already have a natural connection. If they’re not in a Group, consider starting a Group together. To help get you started we have developed an eight-session curriculum called Groups: Pursuing Biblical Community that all new Groups are encouraged to explore together. It covers topics like values and expectations of your Group, guidelines for Group meetings, Group dynamics, spiritual progress, and even includes a Group Covenant. It’s our experience that these elements will help your Group function in a clear, healthy, biblical way.
The great thing is, you don’t need to have a dozen people to form a healthy Group. A minimum of three individuals or two couples is all that’s required. Again, our aim isn’t a certain number of Groups or the size of the Groups. We want to have as many healthy Groups as possible so that we can all grow closer together, and closer with Christ. For more information on this, please read Six Steps to Forming and Maintaining Healthy Groups.
Q: What do Groups do when they meet?
When Groups get together, it can vary week-to-week and month-to-month based on the needs of the Group. The main focuses of Group meetings include Bible study, prayer, accountability, and fellowship. While most meetings include all four disciplines, some may lean more towards one particular depending on the needs of the Group.
Q: Are Groups just for couples?
We want every member of FBC Loganville active in a Group so that they can grow relationally, and encourage each other to grow in Christ. Groups can consist of old and young, marrieds and singles – any combination with which the Group is comfortable. Additionally, a Group at FBC Loganville can be as small as two couples or three individuals, or as large as the Group is comfortable with.
Q: What are some creative ideas for Groups?
We encourage our Groups to mix up their regular meetings from time to time. Something like a social or a fun evening together doing an activity can help deepen bonds. Going bowling, playing a board game, or even taking a camping trip together can be great for Groups. A Group of couples might want to split up guys and ladies for more open conversation and activities together. Going as a Group to a marriage or ministry conference, spending an evening in prayer, or simply getting dinner together are all ways to keep your Group growing and fresh.
Other ideas include a time of sharing favorite verses together, walking through a park and having biblical discussion, celebrating the Lord’s Supper, or even sharing favorite worship songs and enjoying a time of worship together.
Q: How long should we meet?
Groups should meet for whatever length of time best fits the dynamics and schedules of the Group members. We’ve found that the two most common meeting times are about an hour for those meeting weekly on-campus and about two or three hours for those meeting off-campus in homes about twice a month. Keep in mind that the goal of a Group meeting isn’t to log in a certain amount of time but to help meet the spiritual needs of the Group – primarily biblical accountability, prayer, and fellowship.
Group members also need to be encouraged to provide input in reevaluating the health of the Group on a regular basis. This might mean that a Group decides to lengthen or shorten their regular meetings. Remember, the long-term health of the Group takes priority.
Q: Who leads the Group?
This is a key component to the long-term health of a Group. Different Groups may answer this question differently based on the makeup and dynamics of its members. It can be pretty taxing for one person or couple to lead a Group on their own for years on end, but could still be the best option for some Groups. Other Groups choose to share the leadership responsibilities week-to-week. For example, for Groups that meet off-campus, the meeting host may also lead the discussion, prayer, study, and fellowship time. Or, a Group might decide that one couple or individual hosts the regular meeting at their home while another couple or individual leads the meeting.
It may be that certain Group members have gifts to lead the different aspects of a meeting and choose to do so at every time. Be honest about the strengths and dynamics in your Group as you determine leadership roles. Remember, the goal is having a healthy Group.
Q: What curriculum should our Group use? Who pays for the curriculum?
Primarily, the Group members prayerfully decide what curriculum to choose. All Groups are encouraged to select curriculum that is biblically sound and meets the needs of the Group. Each Group member will be responsible to pay for any curriculum used as a resource for spiritual growth. If you or a member of your Group cannot afford the material, financial assistance should come from the Group. If the Group is unable to give financial aid, please contact our Groups Team (firstname.lastname@example.org). By purchasing your own Bible study curriculum, you invest into your present spiritual growth and build a spiritual growth library for future needs. Here are some helpful options that many of our Groups utilize:
- Attend one of FBCL’s Bible Study Classes for a ten-week session. Discussion at Group meetings can be a continuation of what is taught in that class.
- Choose a study from our FBCL Curriculum Library which contains a full complement of materials covering a wide range of topics. Email email@example.com for more information.
- Choose a study that isn’t available through one of our Bible Study Classes or in the FBCL Curriculum Library. Groups are encouraged to choose a study that is biblically sound and meets the needs of the Group.
- Choose not to do a study together. It may sound strange, but if your Group members are involved in multiple teaching venues each week, you might not find it necessary to add another regular Bible study to your schedule. Your Group might instead choose to have spiritual conversations centering around what the members of the Group are learning during those other regular Bible study times.
Q: What are the Five Springboard Questions used for spiritual discussion?
Sometimes it can be difficult to take time to realize really fruitful conversations in our lives. If there’s one place you should get this, it’s within the safety and comfort of your Group relationships. To help you get started, we’ve developed five simple questions that cover all the important areas of our lives. These questions are best suited for use by individuals of the same gender so all members can be open and honest. We call these our Five Springboard Questions because they often lead to further questions and discussion.
- How are you really doing?
- Teach me what you have learned this week as you’ve studied your Bible.
- Based on what you’ve learned, is there a promise to proclaim, a truth to stand firm on, or an adjustment to be made?
- Is there a relationship in your life that needs healing or forgiveness?
- How can I best pray for you?
Q: Are there resources to help start a Group?
We have a really helpful resource that was developed in our church and for our church to help us develop strong, healthy Groups. Groups: Pursuing Biblical Community guides new Groups and Groups looking to refocus/get healthier through eight specially-designed sessions. It covers topics like values and expectations of your Group, guidelines for Group meetings, Group dynamics, spiritual progress, and even includes a sample Group Covenant to help your Group get together and stay together in a clear, healthy, biblical way. Download this useful tool at fbcloganville.org/groups.
Q: When do Groups typically meet?
The short answer is that Groups can meet whenever best fits the schedules of its members. For most Groups, two options seem to work best. One option is for Groups to meet during regular service times (9:30 and 11:00 am on Sundays; 6:45 to 8:00 pm on Wednesdays). When Groups choose one of these meeting times, they can take advantage of age-specific ministries for their children and obviously eliminate the cost of a sitter.
The second option that Groups gravitate towards is meeting at someone’s home on another day of the week. Some Groups choose a night of the week when schedules are light or a Sunday evening to get charged up for the week ahead.
No matter when your Group decides to meet, the important thing is for all of the Group members to be honest about their schedules so that the very best regular meeting time can be selected and then honored.
Q: Are there different kinds of Groups?
Looking big-picture, a Group is essentially three or more individuals or two or more couples who get together for biblical discussion, accountability, prayer, and fellowship. The make up of those Groups varies drastically. A Group can be three guys getting together for accountability. A Group can be 30 people getting together every week for Bible study. A Group can be six couples getting together to work on their marriages. A Group can be one family that opens up their home every month to their neighborhood for a Bible study.
Other churches and our church in the past had all these different types of Groups like Sunday schools classes, accountability Groups, outreach Groups, life Groups, etc. Those are all great, and different people are going to gravitate towards different types of Groups. Our primary goal is that all Groups are healthy. We define a healthy Group as one whose members are growing in God’s Word, holding each other accountable, and enjoying fellowship together. So the type of people that form a Group isn’t our focus; it’s that they’re healthy and doing what a body of believers should be doing.
Q: What is a Group Coach and what do they do?
A Group Coach is someone who helps Starter Groups journey through the initial eight sessions and helps answer questions along the way. They give guidance, direction, and support to Starter Groups. After a Group officially forms, they are also available to offer continual advice, suggestions, and support to help Groups stay healthy and grow stronger together.
Q: What is a Starter Group?
A Starter Group is a collection of people that desires to become an official Group but have yet to determine their purpose, expectations, values, and guidelines. They determine this by going through Groups: Pursuing Biblical Community. Once they have agreed on those items, they become a Group.
Q: What should our Group do about childcare?
One of the purposes of Groups is to provide a safe environment – one where adults can be free to share without interruptions with the peace of mind that their children are safe. Providing childcare for Groups is a team effort that involves you and your Group.
- For Groups Meeting On-Campus at FBCL: Childcare is provided on Wednesdays from 6:45 – 8:00 pm, or on Sundays from 9:30 am to 12:15 pm. Please be prompt in picking up your child.
- For Groups Meeting Off-Campus: If your Group meets off-campus, hiring a sitter to provide childcare for all of the children of the Group members is a simple and cost-effective solution. If your Group meets in a home with a finished basement, a separate playroom, or any space where the children can be without disturbing the Group meeting, hosting the Group meeting and childcare in the same home is a viable option. However, some Groups choose to insure no distractions by housing the sitter and children in the home of another Group member that is near the Group meeting location. You can always choose to have each member secure childcare on an individual/couple basis.
Q: What role does Connections play in Groups?
If you are new to the community, new to the church, or just haven’t been able to establish relationships here at FBCL, Connections is a great place to meet others just like you. Connections is designed to help you connect with God, HIs Word, and His people through spiritual conversation, Biblical discussion, and prayer. Each week during Connections, individuals and couples from all seasons of life discuss the sermon from that Sunday. This allows you to get to know other believers – who they are, what they value, and how they live their faith. Prayerfully, you will meet another individual or couple with whom you have natural connections. This may be the very person or people with whom God would have you start a Group. Connections meets at 11:00 am in room E259.
Q: Are my Group members going to end up as my BFFs?
The purpose of Groups is to help people grow their faith in a safe environment with other believers. This does not mean that Group members will become your BFFs. Group members are there to encourage, pray for, and spur you on towards spiritual maturity. In fact, we encourage you to think and pray earnestly about having a best friend in your Group. We want you to have healthy, strong relationships outside of the Group, too. Other reasons not to join a Group are: to have a permanent lunch date every Sunday, free marital/family/personal counseling, to promote my business or get new clients, or to totally focus on “me.” Groups exist primarily to help you grow your faith.
Q: What is the duration of Groups?
We do not put a time limit on Groups. Some Groups have journeyed together for many, many seasons. Others have intentionally “multiplied” to form additional Groups. Most Groups start by committing to one year together, realizing that it typically takes four to six months to build trust. We do ask Group members to evaluate their Group each year based on the purpose, expectations, values, and guidelines of their covenant. This helps members determine if they will commit to an additional year with that particular Group.
Q: What if I don’t like the Group that I’m in? How do I get out of a Group?
First, we would ask that you begin with yourself. What were your expectations of the Group, and how have your expectations not been met? Have circumstances changed in your life that have altered your perspective?
Second, we would ask you to be honest with the Group about what you are experiencing. This helps the Group to grow as well. If you can continue with the Group until the year commitment is over, that is always ideal. If, however, you feel you cannot continue with the Group, you have the freedom to bow out gracefully. Most members leave a Group due to unmet expectations, unclear expectations, or a change in life circumstances. Leaving a Group before the fulfilment of the one-year commitment is uncommon, especially if the members completed Groups: Pursuing Biblical Community. But it does happen. In these cases, grace is given towards all.
Q: What if I had a bad experience with Groups?
This is a common reason not to join a Group. Why was your experience so bad? Maybe the purpose, expectations, values, and guidelines of the Group were not clear. Maybe the Group just “played it by ear” and chose not to go through Groups: Pursuing Biblical Community. Maybe you had conflict with another Group member? There could be numerous reasons.
We would encourage you to keep moving forward with Groups. Have you ever had a bad or undercooked steak? Did this keep you from eating steaks? Probably not! Ever had a bad experience in a retail store? Did it keep you from shopping? You get the point. Groups are not a science. Groups are made up of people – broken people. That is why Groups can be incredibly rewarding, but also incredibly challenging. Don’t give up. Keep going until you find a Group that is right for you.
Q: How big is a Group? What is the optimal size of a Group?
Groups can be as small as two couples or three individuals. They can be as big as thirty or more couples/individuals. It really is up to the Group. One thing we do recommend for larger Groups (10+ members), is to organize your Group into smaller units for the sake of accountability, prayer, and encouragement. We have found that the smaller the Group or unit, the more personal the connection is between members.
Q: Who makes up a Group?
Anyone who desires to be in a Group for Biblical discussion, fellowship, prayer, and accountability. Typically, most Groups are formed around common interests, seasons of life, and ages of children. But Groups can consist of all couples, all men, all women, or a mixture of couples and singles. Groups can consist of senior adults and couples in their 20’s. Groups can have widows and middle age couples. Believe it or not, Groups can have Georgia Bulldog fans and Florida Gator fans co-existing in harmony with each other! It is up to the Group to decide this.
Q: How do I join an existing Group?
Typically, people want to join Groups that they already have connections or relationships with. If the Group you want to join is open to adding members, simply ask to join their Group. It’s important to note that some Groups are closed Groups in order to keep trust at a high level. Trust is vital to Groups as it allows members to let down their guard and be transparent. Group members are encouraged to have many strong relationships outside of Group life. In fact, most Group member’s best friends are outside of their Group.
Q: What is an open Group and a closed Group? Why are some Groups closed and others open?
An open Group is one that is open to adding new members. Often, these Groups are larger and focused on fellowship and Bible study. Relationships are formed here, but these larger Groups must be diligent to achieve accountability, encouragement, and prayer through smaller units of people.
A closed Group is one that is intentional about growing trust and fostering transparency among members. This limits the size of their Group. Depending on the direction of the Group and the goals of the Group, a Group can either be in an open season or closed season. Which one is Biblically correct? Both are.
We know from Acts 2:42 that small Groups of believers met in each other’s homes to discuss the apostle’s teachings, fellowship, pray, and partake of the Lord’s Supper. The church grew through relationships. Then in Acts 2:47 we read that “people were added daily to the church.” So the goal is to grow smaller and bigger at the same time. Whether you are in an open or closed Group, our goal is for you to be in a place that is healthy and helping you mature in your faith.
Q: How important is the Starter Group guide for the health of Groups?
This is a game changer for all Groups. Most Groups that have had challenges along the way can attribute them to missing dynamics covered in Groups: Pursing Biblical Community. We highly recommend that anyone interested in forming a Group use this curriculum. This ensure a healthy foundation for the Group. If you are already in a Group and haven’t completed this material, we encourage you to stop what your Group is doing and schedule time to go through Groups: Pursuing Biblical Community. You’ll be glad you did. This resource helps Groups decide on the purpose, expectations, values, and guidelines of their Group.
Q: Is there training for Groups?
Yes. About twice a month, we publish a short video, article, or testimony that will benefit your Group. Our Groups Team is constantly learning about Group dynamics. As we learn, we’ll pass along information to you. Additionally, we will have a yearly Groups summit, called Acts 242. Acts 242 will gather all Group members for the purpose of Group growth and health. Acts 242 will be a time of communication, information, and inspiration. As always, if you have a question or concern, or if you have learned something you want to share about Groups, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: Can Groups come up with their own accountability questions?
Absolutely. We recommend you start with the Five Springboard Questions, but eventually adapt questions to fit the needs of your Group. However, we do advise that you avoid making Group time an interrogation. Somewhere between three and five questions seems to do the trick. Make sure your questions are motivated by grace and not law, and that they get to the heart of the matter, not the outward appearance. Questions can also change with the seasons of the Group.
Q: What does the typical Group meeting look like?
That depends on the Group. The basic Group meeting can be as simple as dinner, conversation about life over dinner, and then breaking down into smaller gender-specific units for accountability, biblical conversation, and prayer. On the other hand, because we encourage Group members to all share in the direction of the Group, Group meetings can be creative and different from meeting to meeting. A Group may spend more time in prayer at one meeting, go bowling the next, and then have a time of worship the following meeting. It is totally up to the Group. Our advice is to do life together. Have times of deep connection with God through prayer, Biblical discussion, and worship, but also connect with each other through accountability, laughter, and fun!
Q: Does a Group have to have all of its members to start?
No. How wild would it be if families were formed instantly with five or seven or ten members? The same can be said about Groups. All you need to start a Group is another couple or two other individuals that have agreed to consistently meet for the purpose of fellowship, biblical discussion, accountability, and prayer. You can then add additional Group members when you feel the time is right. Some Groups have journeyed together for years with only two couples, adding members slowly over a period of several more years. Don’t feel the need to have a particular number of people to start your Group. Start slowly and add as the Group feels led.
Q: Can a person be in more than one Group?
It depends on the person, but yes. Most people commit to being in just one Group due to the busyness of life. They feel they have enough time commitments and relationships already. Others have more time to give. Different Groups meet different needs. One Group rarely meets all the needs of an individual. So, the decision to be in more than one Group is totally up to you.
Q: My Group isn’t gelling. What do I do?
First, ask yourself why. What are the reasons for the lack of camaraderie? Is it because the Group isn’t meeting enough? Is it meeting too much? Has the Group time become too routine? Too superficial? Has the Group lost its focus on the purpose, expectations, values, and guidelines of the Group? Did the Group complete Groups: Pursuing Biblical Community?
Whatever the reason, after praying over your concerns, graciously and humbly bring them before the Group at an upcoming meeting. Be honest with other members. You’ll likely find that many of them feel the same way. Have open discussion about what’s going on in your Group. Pray and make wise adjustments to your Group time. Remember, you can always contact your coach or the Groups Team for insight and direction.
Q: I need help! Who do I call?
If your Group completed Groups: Pursuing Biblical Community, you were assigned a coach. Your coach is available to help answer any questions you or your Group may have. Coaches can offer advice, give direction, or clarify anything that is confusing about Groups. They are there to help your Group achieve and maintain health. If your Group did not complete Groups: Pursuing Biblical Community, please contact our Groups Team (email@example.com.)
Q: What do Groups do during the holidays and summer months?
Typically, Groups plan around holidays so that they can enjoy these seasons with their families. Most Groups meet sparingly between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but stay connected through text messages, phone calls, and convenient meals together. During the summer, Groups may need to adjust their schedules to meet everyone’s needs. Because this can be quite challenging, most Groups plan their summer meeting schedule far in advance.
Having all Group members present is a big goal for Group meetings, but sometimes this is not possible. We suggest you move forward with your scheduled Group meeting with all available members. Keep in mind that summer months are great for fun Group activities (playdates, hiking, renting a cabin, camping, game nights, etc.).