First Night of Group, Part 1: The Template

Your first night of small group will always be a little different. People are meeting each other for the first time and wondering if they’ll like each other, and what to expect from the group. It’s important to know that your first night of group will set the tone for what your group will be like, so you need to have a plan.  Here’s a template of what a typical first night of group should look like.

With Dinner:
1. Dinner (30 minutes)
2. Icebreaker Game (15 minutes)
3. Lesson (45 minutes)
4. Prayer (15 minutes)
Total: 1:45

Without Dinner:
1. Arrive (10 minutesa)
2. Game (15 minutes)
3. Lesson (45 minutes)
4. Prayer (15 minutes)
5. Snack (15 minutes)
Total: 1:30

As the Small Group Leader remember:
– You’re in Charge. (It’s ok to be in charge.)
– You will set the tone for your group.
– Be a time tyrant. (Keep your group on track.)

Here’s the template expanded

With Dinner
1. Contact your group before the first night. Make sure you contact everyone in your group before the first night to answer any questions they might have about group. (Where to park, what to bring, dinner/no dinner, childcare?)
2. Try to start eating as close to your official start time. (30 minutes)The longer you put it off, the later people will arrive each week. (Give the group a warning to start moving into the living room. As a leader, you’ll have to help get people moving.)
3. Play an icebreaker game or two. (15 minutes) For the first few weeks I’ll always have people go around and say their name and something like, favorite toy as a kid, or favorite candy bar. After that I’ll play some sort of game. On the first night, consider playing two games. For game ideas check this link: http://refuelblog.com/2014/03/20/over-70-game-ideas-for-small-group-free-download/
4. Lesson. (45 minutes)
5. Prayer. (15 minutes)

Without Dinner
1. Contact your group before the first night. Make sure you contact everyone in your group before the first night to answer any questions they might have about group. (Where to park, what to bring, dinner/no dinner, childcare?)
2. Give people 10 minutes to arrive at group. (Groups without dinner will probably have to stick to a tighter time table, but give people a few minutes to arrive.)
3. Play an icebreaker game or two. (Because people will be arriving stressed out or tired from their day, it’ll be important to have an icebreaker game each week to help transition them into thinking about group. It could be as simple as having everyone share their High and Low from their day. For game ideas check this link: http://refuelblog.com/2014/03/20/over-70-game-ideas-for-small-group-free-download/
4. Lesson. (45 minutes)
5. Prayer. (15 minutes) 

Here’s some more reading about ideas to make your first night of group more awesome. http://refuelblog.com/2014/01/14/5-ways-to-make-your-first-night-of-group-more-awesome/

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