|The Stages of Small Group Life||
|By gkeylon | 10 Aug 2012|
Recently, a Living Free small group facilitator contacted us and was very upset. He began to vent his frustration by telling us that his group members were not opening up and sharing what was really going on inside of them. Immediately we asked this facilitator how many weeks the group had been meeting. With his answer, we knew expectations had been set very high. The group had only finished their first session! This facilitator wanted everyone in the group to open up a lot sooner than most people are comfortable with doing.
There is a process that takes place before individuals feel comfortable with sharing their inner struggles. Each group can very well be different in how much time it takes for people to share. There is no set predictor as to when people feel safe to share. It all depends on their comfort level. All we know is that when the Word of God is presented in a group environment, the Holy Spirit works through the Scripture and the life experience of other group members to bring openness and freedom.
Understanding the phases in group life is important for group facilitators. “Small groups go through stages as they begin, continue and end their life together. Just as an individual moves through stages in his life from infancy to old age, so groups, too, move through cycles” (Hestenes, 31). Although these phases may vary based on the personalities and experiences of the group members, certain phases are common with people who are dealing with life-controlling problems.
With this being said, let’s take a closer look over the next four blog posts to see how most people experience the small group life cycle. The four steps that most small groups experience are trust, mutuality, affirmation and accountability.
We hope and pray that you will gain an understanding of how many small groups develop over the life cycle of their time together.
Remember to be patient with the process and watch what God does. In the next blog post, we will discuss what usually happens before almost anyone is willing to share personal struggles.
Excerpts from Understanding the Times and Knowing What To Do. />