How to Bust Small Group Busters

Do these small group busters sound familiar?

  • Sarah routinely arrives fifteen minutes late.
  • Jennifer derails the discussion to superficial topics.
  • Stephanie attends half the meetings and rarely notifies you when she's not coming.
  • Tina never says a word.
  • Marie, on the other hand . . .

Leader, are you getting a headache yet?

Busters Because . . .

Small group busters often arise when expectations aren't clearly established from the get-go, or when a healthy group cruises on auto-pilot, and bad habits creep in.

Busters Busted

Many small group busters you bump into can be averted by establishing a community covenant. A covenant is an agreement expressing group practices, expected behavior, and shared values. When members sign their "Jane Hancock" on the document, it validates mutual agreement and responsibility for a positive community experience. A covenant also serves to avoid unmet expectations and misunderstandings.

The best agreements specify a time limit. Will it last for one year, or for the length of a particular study? At subsequent intervals, review key points of the covenant during a group meeting. As the leader, you'll be expected to winsomely enforce the guidelines as need arises.

Read on for eight suggested values to include in a group covenant. Then customize it to fit your group needs.

8 Small Group Values

  1. Confidentiality

    What I hear and see in the group will stay in the group.

  2. Authenticity

    I will be as open with my life as I can be at this time.

  3. Love

    I will affirm you no matter what you have said and done in the past. I will love you as you are now and pray for God to continue to transform you into the likeness of His Son.

  4. Accountability

    I will ask the group to hold me accountable for specific areas of my life. With my permission you can ask me about the goals I set regarding God, my family, my personal life, and the world. I expect you to lovingly not "let me off the hook."

    On the basis of Proverbs 27:17, I ask you to please share with me areas in my life that do not reflect Jesus, because I want to grow in personal holiness.

  5. Prayer

    I promise to pray for others in my group on a regular basis, lifting them up to the Lord.

  6. Encouragement

    I understand every woman in this group is at a different point in her journey with the Lord. I will accept you the way you are, but encourage you to progress in becoming more like Jesus.

  7. Commitment

    I will have my work completed when I come to group. I will choose to attend each weekly meeting even if I fall short. I will make every effort to be present and on time. It will have high priority in my schedule.

  8. Participation

    I will do my part to keep the discussion centered on biblical truth and the text we're studying. I will contribute to the discussion without dominating. I will be sensitive in allowing members to share equally as we grow in Christ together. Scripture will be our final authority.

How will you incorporate a Small Group Covenant to bust pesky group busters?


About the Author

Leslie Bennett

Leslie Bennett and her husband, Mac, live in South Carolina. After a dozen years of serving in a local church as the Director of Women’s Ministry, she joined the Revive Our Hearts team as the Director of Women’s Ministry Initiatives. Spend a few minutes with Leslie, and you’ll catch her passion for the local church, prayer, and revival.