Have you ever heard these questions?
“How can I share small group ministry vision and ongoing training when I struggle to even get the leaders to gather together! What do you do to gather your leaders? What works well in your context? What creative ideas have you implemented?”
Every time my Small Group Network Huddle meets, questions such as this surface in one form or another. So if these questions ring true for you in your role as a small group ministry leader, let me assure you you are not alone!
While physically gathering small group leaders together has an important and valuable role in our ministry, sometimes it just proves too tricky to pull off on a regular basis. So thinking creatively beyond a physical gathering is an important step. Social media can be a very simple and effective vehicle to connect with our team, to encourage, inspire, set direction and share information.
When most people use the term “social media,” they are referring to social networks like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. If you are anything like me (a bit of a novice), it can all seem a little overwhelming. So I want to encourage you to think about taking one simple step.
Create a Facebook Group for your Small Group Leaders
- If you are using blogging as a regular means to communicate then connect your blog with the Facebook group and it will automatically be posted.
- Post your Small Group Ministry vision in different ways on a regular basis.
- Share words of encouragement and or Scripture verses which will inspire and motivate your leaders.
- Encourage leaders to share questions or challenges they are experiencing in their group. These can be answered by the small group ministry leader but fellow leaders could also post their feedback on specific questions.
- Seek input about particular training or tools your small group leaders may find helpful for their own development.
- Ask one or two leaders to post a brief review about a small group discussion guide they have found useful in their small group.
- Upload short YouTube clips on the Facebook page to resource your leaders. You can make your own or there are plenty online. I recently gave my small group leaders a couple of two minute YouTube training clips to watch, after watching two questions were set for reflection, these were then discussed (in groups of 3-4) at our next physical gathering. You could do the same process and have an online discussion.
Some practical things to think about
- Have a clear goal around how you will use the Facebook group – what are you trying to achieve? Posting for the sake of posting is not going to be most effective.
- Have a plan and strategy which builds on your ministry’s particular “end in mind.”
- Keep it short, sharp and engaging.
- Set up some agreed guidelines with your small group ministry leaders who have access to the Facebook page – confidentiality, language, respect, how to deal with conflict of ideas, what can be reposted, advertising your own business etc.
- Have clarity around whether the group will be open or closed (i.e. just for your small group leaders).
I was surprised to recently read that in the U.S. 74% of adults use social media, and that 49% of those were over 65!
This shows that it is more than likely that many, if not all, of your small group leaders are already on Facebook. So why not embrace social media as a vehicle to inspire, encourage and connect with them. Take one simple step!