Become a Transformational Small Group

Do you lead a transformational small group?

To answer that, you need to know what it means for people to be transformed. This is the simple definition of transform from Merriam-Webster:

Transform: to change (something) completely and usually in a good way”

An example of a transformation in nature is the caterpillar turning into a beautiful butterfly. It is a dramatic change. It is a change that is difficult to explain without giving God the credit.

transformed blue-green butterflyWhen people transform, they are not recognizable from who they once were. I am not talking about physical appearance, like the butterfly. This is about the whole  person. The heart can change. Priorities and values can change. Behaviors can change. Many things can change for the better as we become more like Jesus.

Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God.”
Romans 12:2

How do you create a transformational small group?

5 Ways to Build a Transformational Small Group

Small group leaders can’t force transformation in their members. But there are some things that can set the stage and encourage a dramatic change to take place.

1. Prayer

If true life transformation can only take place through the power of God why wouldn’t you make prayer for the group a #1 priority?

I am the vine. You are the branches. He who remains in me, and I in him, the same bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
John 15:5

We need God. There is a spiritual battle going on every day that we can’t see. If the

Pray daily for each of your members to be protected and grow spiritually. Pray for guidance on how to lead your group every step of the way. Encourage your group members to pray for each other.

2. Comfortable and Safe Environment

If you want discussions to be authentic, the environment needs to put members at ease.

Make the seating as comfortable as possible. Arrange them in a circle, if possible. Set the thermostat in the room to a proper temperature.  Monitor it periodically as people fill the room to make sure the temperature remains comfortable. Have adequate lighting for all areas of seating for reading and taking notes.

Stress the importance of confidentiality. Get agreement from everyone, starting on the first day, that personal information shared in the meeting does not get shared with anyone outside the meeting. Repeat this periodically and anytime a new person is a part of the small group. Find ways to build trust within the group. Without trust, members will not be comfortable sharing their innermost secrets, including offenses that need to be addressed to have a closer walk with God.

Confess your offenses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The insistent prayer of a righteous person is powerfully effective.”
James 5:16

3. Bible-based Discussions

Group discussions on topics can lead to many expressing their experiences and opinions with each other. If not careful, the Bible can be absent from the stimulating discussion. This is dangerous. Always find ways to ground the group’s discussion in God’s Word.

‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ says Yahweh.
Isaiah 55:8

4. Extracurricular Activity

Don’t let your small group start and end with each meeting.

Follow up with your members between meetings to provide care and encouragement. Pray for each other between meetings.

One of the big items that I have found makes a big difference on whether group members transform is through additional Bible studies between meetings. Provide some “homework” they can work on a little each day and watch what happens to those who do it. It is miraculous.

Don’t feel bad providing homework. In my experience, when the members see the results of a few doing the homework, it encourages them to do the same. This turns the transformation of a few into a transformation of the group.

5. Application

Application is sometimes the missing ingredient from a small group becoming transformational. I like this transformation equation I learned from Perry Noble in Overwhelmed: Winning the War against Worry:

Information + Consistent Application = Transformation

It is not enough for your group members to be filled with potentially life-changing information. They need to consistently apply what is learned.

But be doers of the word, and not only hearers, deluding your own selves.
James 1:22

Find ways for your group members to apply what they discuss. Try to think of a way they can apply it for the first time during the meeting. Discuss practical ways to apply the information after the meeting and encourage them to follow through. Applying it consistently will lead to a transformational small group.

Question: What else could a small group leader do to encourage their small group to become transformational? You can leave a comment by clicking here.