There are several important keys to getting off to a great start in the new year. First, if you didn’t already set a date to get back together, do that today! Doesn’t mean you have to meet this week, or even next. Just means that you need to set a date and get the word out. The sooner the better!
Second, make sure your first meeting has a little bit of a party feel. Food is very important. This is an opportunity to get everyone involved in bringing something. In fact, making sure that every member is responsible for something helps ensure that they’ll all be there. Much less likely to miss the meeting if they’re bringing the guacamole! Do it however you’d like. Make it a theme night (Mexican, Italian, hamburgers or dessert) or keep it simple and make it “bring your favorite dish to share,” just make sure that you get all of your members on board to bring something.
Third, take advantage of the time around the dinner table to help your group talk about where they’ve been and what they’ve done over holidays. A few really helpful starter questions are:
- What was the most memorable thing that happened?
- What was the biggest disappointment?
- What are you looking forward to in 2008?
Don’t miss the fact that some of your members have had a tougher holiday experience than others. Be on the lookout for opportunities to stop and pray for anyone that shares something that calls for prayer. Also, if you’re ready to kick-start the conversation it will make it easier for everyone to jump in!
Fourth, as you begin 2008 it is a great time to renew your group agreement. You’ll find small group agreements (or covenants) in the appendix of many studies today. Taking some time to walk through one with your group will give everyone a chance to refresh their commitment to the group values and the simple basics that make groups healthy. Be sure and check out The Power of a Small Group Agreement for more on this idea.
Last, especially if you’re preparing to launch a new study, this can be a great chance to invite a few unconnected friends to join the group! Many people have already resolved that this is going to be the year that they work on building a few new relationships. Why not help them take the first step!