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 has led Women’s Ministry in two local churches, and serves on the Revive Our Hearts ministry team. She connects with women’s leaders around the world in the Revive Our Hearts Leader Facebook Group and as host of online training events. A teacher at heart, she is devoted to training and discipling the next generation to treasure Christ above all. Leslie and her husband Mac live in S.C. where she loves spending time with family, and admiring Lowcountry sunsets.