Every small group needs a covenant. You need a formalized set of conversations about what your group is there for, and how long it's going to last, etc. Most people call that a small group covenant, but no matter what you call it, you need to have these conversations. If your group started with these conversations and you haven't had them in awhile, it wouldn't hurt to visit them from time to time with your group.
Let me suggest a few key pieces of a good group covenant:
How long is your group going to last? Perhaps you are looking for only a couple months or for a few years. Will you meet every week or every other week? For and hour and a half or for three hours? These are issues about commitment to the group and you need to make sure everyone is on the same page with time.
There needs to be certain expectations that what is said in the group stays in the group. People should feel free to share burdens or confess sin and not worry that it's going to show up on Facebook or somebody's blog. They need to know that it's confidential.
Everybody in the group should be respected as a unique individual made in the image of God. Not perfect, but he or she should be respected by other members of the group.
Will your purpose be relational to connect with one another, to study and help you change to be more like Jesus, or to serve and help you cultivate a heart for others? Whatever the purpose of your group may be, you need to be able to articulate it and everybody should be in agreement that, yes that is the purpose of our group.
Having a conversation about your covenant will be an important part and foundation of your group.
*This is the second post in a series of 27 Tips for Small Group Leaders
BILL SEARCH is the author of Simple Small Groups. He has served in ministry for nearly 20 years. Bill loves spending time with his family, drinking great coffee, listening to jazz, and enjoying the great outdoors.
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