As HTC is encouraging everyone to join a small group, we wanted to take a moment and recognize that for some - this is a huge decision. For some, this is monumental step out of their comfort zone. We know that you may have questions on where to begin or what may be required of you, so we wanted to be proactive and help answer any potential questions you might have.
Q: Why should I join a small group?
- At Harbor Trinity Church, we desire for everyone to experience the intimacy of a small group. Not only is it modeled by the apostles and the early church (Acts 2), but has many great benefits that can assist you in your spiritual walk. In a small group you will most likely experience greater accountability, intimacy and fellowship! An HTC small group is literally an extension of the church. It is where life-change happens and godly relationships are nourished. More importantly, you will grow in faith and Christ-likeness. Members of a small group share their joys and bear one another’s burdens. It is a perfect opportunity to feel connected, be loved, and poured into by other like-minded people.
Q: What should I expect when I attend a small group?
- In each small group you can expect a safe atmosphere to be open and real with yourself and with others. There will be fellowship, discussions, and opportunities to pray for one another. There will most likely be snacks, and depending on some small group leaders, there may be good snacks (not just vegetables)!
Q: If I started attending a small group, will I be expected to stay in the group forever?
- No. We know things come up, needs change, or perhaps you might not mesh well with a person in the group. We would only encourage you to talk to the small group leader and have an honest discussion with them before you leave and to consider the possibility that God may be trying to use the situation to even grow your character. This is also why we implement a 10 week commitment block. [Read more...]
Q: How many people should be in a small group?
- It really depends on the group, its meeting place, and the type of people in the group. Each group may vary, but we believe an ideal group size is around 12 people.
Q: What if I don't feel that I am capable or smart enough to facilitate a small group?
- We believe there will always be excuses you can make not to lead. Moses was asked by God to free the nation of Israel from bondage in Egypt, and even he made excuses. Ultimately he listened and was obedient, and great things happened as a result. We simply ask you to be obedient to the Lord's prompting too. If God is calling you to start a small group, then follow His leadership - greater things are still to come!
Q: What kind of curriculum should I teach?
- If this is a big concern for you, don't let this deter you from leading. DVD series or Bible study curriculum from any Christian bookstore are great viable options. More so, we would encourage you to use Harbor Trinity's sermon discussion questions that are based off of the latest Sunday sermon. These questions are designed to take your discussions deeper as they relate to who you are and where God is calling you to be. These questions simply need to be facilitated and are provided by Harbor Trinity each week. [Read more...]
Q: What if I don’t feel confident as a small group leader?
- Leading a small group isn’t about your ability. It’s about what God will do through you as the group’s facilitator. When you realize it’s a team effort, your overall view of leading will change. You’ll start to feel confident because you’re in community and participating with others. Above all, when you trust in Christ to help you lead and guide the discussion, those feelings of inadequacy will slowly fade away.
Q: How do I deal with awkward silences after I ask a question?
- Silence can sometimes indicate you need to restate the question better. Launch questions that get people talking about themselves. If your group still isn’t opening up, set aside Bible study and discussion time for a few weeks and provide ways for your group to get to know each other in different settings. Silence could also mean you need to practice more patience. Wait for about 20 seconds after you ask a question for your group to reflect and think. If your group still doesn’t answer, make eye contact with someone directly (i.e., “John, what do you think about …?”) You can also prompt the discussion by being the first to answer your own question.
Q: What if I don’t know an answer to a question?
- Consider bouncing that question right back for your group to answer. Let them know you don’t know the answer but are interested in their feedback. Tell them you’d be glad to research that one later and get back to them. Being open allows for your group to see you’re all on the journey together. Tough questions, even though intimidating, can carry your group into new depths spiritually and relationally.
Q: What do I do when there’s conflict?
- Even though it’s really tempting, don’t run away from the inevitable conflict. Bring it to the surface by going to that person alone. Find out what’s driving the conflict (Prov. 20:5). Is something triggering a selfish attitude, a constant need to talk or a critical tone of voice? God speaks about what to do with conflict all throughout Scripture (Matt. 18). Aim for healthy conflict that will build community and not tear it down.
Q: Coed vs. Gender Specific?
- We believe that there are many benefits that could be said for both coed groups and gender specific groups. This decision will ultimately be up to the individual seeking or starting a group. It could also be said that the small group could at times be a variation of both. Perhaps a coed group could benefit meeting a few weeks together, and allow another week to separate male and females to discuss gender related questions.
Q: Can we bring our kids with us?
- Each group is different. Some groups may have accommodations for children while other groups may not. Talk it out with the group facilitator first.
Q: What do young families do with childcare?
- We have found that the answer to this varies upon the group. Here are a few solutions that some groups have discovered: childcare is sought out individually; or the children are brought to the home group where someone watches them in another room/outside; or each week a couple from the same small group is designated to watch the children at their home while that small group is held elsewhere; or a small group of families breaks into gender specific groups where dads watch their kids one week, and moms watch the kids another week.
Q: Do you have to be a member to be in a group?
Q: Do you need to attend Harbor Trinity to be in group?
- No. Small groups are an extension of the church, we welcome everyone.
Q: How do I help my group really connect with each other?
- Getting your group to connect and gel on an authentic level has a lot to do with how you choose to open up. If you lead with a heart of authenticity, your group will feel the freedom to do the same. If you pretend like you don’t have struggles or sin issues, your group will never be vulnerable and spiritual growth will remain stagnant.
Q: Who do I contact if I have questions?
- Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the church office at 714-556-7787.