We all long for community. That’s one of the reasons this ministry exists: we know we are made for community. In my personal spiritual life, I have been most encouraged in prayer and holiness when I am a part of committed small group.
Starting a small group can be intimidating, but it’s easier than you might think! But keeping one going presents a different set of challenges that can be navigated with intention.
All Small Groups Experience Bumps
We all dream of having a small group that lasts through the years. We want women with whom we “do life” and pass through life’s triumphs and trials. Any small group that has lasted for more than a few months will assure you that this kind of unity and commitment does not come without a price. It takes sacrifice and intentionality to gather women in various vocations and jobs and with different schedules and obligations. Of course, there are the more tender difficulties of hurt feelings or clashing personalities.
But most of the time, maintaining a small group comes down to just that … time.
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How to Restart Your Small Group
Maybe you’ve been a part of a small group that recently fizzled. Maybe everything was going great and then COVID happened or school started or the host moved away. Maybe you all simply lost touched and too many months went by without meeting and now it feels … weird.
Don’t let weird keep you from wonderful!
It takes courage to be the one to step back out and “get the band back together” but it will likely be worth it. Just remember that everyone longs for community, and the other women are probably missing the companionship of the group as well.
If you need some help reaching out to restart your small group, we have some ideas!
1. Reach Out in the Regular Medium
Does your group normally communicate through text? Voxer? Messenger? Email? Be the brave one and reach out first in the typical way. They will be happy to hear from you!
2. Call It What it Is
You don’t have to pretend like it hasn’t been a while since you’ve been together. Be upfront about it! Some women may be feeling insecure. They may fear that they’ve just been excluded from the group or that they did something. Dismiss any fears or insecurities by touching briefly on why you all haven’t met in a while.
Hey! It’s hard to believe that it’s been over a year and a half since the pandemic started. I miss seeing you all!
I know we haven’t met since Cindy moved away, but I would love to get together again.
It’s been so busy for everyone and I know we haven’t be able to meet in a while. I think that means we need fellowship even more!
3. Have Something Specific in Mind
It can be helpful to have something to unite around. It helps “re-break” the ice and creates excitement about meeting together again. Find a Bible study to suggest or a liturgical devotional to center your discussion around.
In fact, this year’s Advent devotional from Blessed is She, And Hay Became Holy, is perfect for rebooting your small group. It is hyper-focused on the Nativity, giving your small group something specific to meditate on together.
4. Offer to Host
If you have not hosted in the past, offer to host. Consider reaching out to the previous host privately first; but she might be relieved to meet with everyone without the pressure of hosting. Sometimes people get so busy or feel so overwhelmed that no one wants to invite other people over. Offer people a safe, comforting place to come and lay down their cares for a while. And don’t worry so much about the state of your home—people just want to be with each other.
5. Discuss Dates Immediately
We have all been a part of the conversation that ends with, “We should get together sometime!”
We never get together.
Leaving things vague is a recipe for a persistently inactive small group. People don’t maliciously refrain from following up—we just forget. The best way to avoid this is by setting a date to meet right then and there. It will feel so good to have ti on the calendar!
6. Commit to Praying for One Another
Finally, re-commit to praying for one another. Ask people for their intentions so you can pray for them until you all meet again. Or simply let them know that you are offering your fast/Rosary/Mass/Holy Hour for them that day.
Community is Worth It
It takes effort to start and maintain a small group. It takes even greater effort to restart a small group that was once thriving. But it is worth it. Walking alongside people who also love the Lord and desire sanctity is a great gift. It can make all the difference in our spiritual lives.
So send the text, grab a devotional, and plan a date. The others will thank you for it!