Connections made through fellowship build relationships amongst believers and strengthen your church family. And that fellowship takes place in small groups. Whether your small groups are built based on ages and life stages or common interests, those within your congregation will feel more connected to your church through small group fellowship. Activate your small groups with the right tools.
Saying, “Create small groups,” may be simple. But if you don’t have a church management solution to help you plan, organize, recruit, and communicate, you’ll struggle to get your small groups off the ground. That’s where Realm comes in.
Decide what small groups are needed
You may be wondering if it’s best to create small groups based on age or life stages. One way to evaluate what would work best for those in your church is to know who you have in your congregation.
Using Realm Dashboards, you can view how many people you have in each age range. Keep in mind the life stages that are relatable to each age group and customize your age ranges to fit those groupings. For instance, instead of grouping 18-30 as Young Adults. Split them into a College Group (18-23) and a Young Adults Group (24-32). View how many are in each age range on the Dashboard to determine how many small groups you need.
When it comes to your adult small groups, you may want to base the groups on life stages alone. Rather than age. Realm Reporting lets you dig a bit deeper into the details of your congregation. Say you know there are many young children in your nursery, and you want to provide a small group for the parents of those children. Using our Realm church reporting tool, you can run a custom query to find all parents of children under 3. From there, you can create a parents’ small group or even split it further for a moms’ group and a dads’ group.
Organize your small groups
Once you have decided what small groups are needed, Realm Ministry Areas can help you organize your small church groups to better manage them. Create a top-level ministry area for your small group ministry. Then use sub-ministry areas to categorize your small groups even further (for instance, young adults, women, men, etc.). Assign a leader or multiple leaders to your entire small group ministry at the top level. This way they can add events and resources that apply to every single small group in that ministry area.
Equip your group leaders
Small groups begin quickly but may fade out even faster without communication and engagement led by small group leaders. They will need to communicate with their group members and set event details for when they meet so everyone stays in the loop. Realm allows them to do just that. Group leaders can communicate with their group through Newsfeed Posts, which are visible by each group member through the Realm Connect mobile app and online. Posts can be text, photos, or even events. Group members can choose to receive email or push notifications each time something posts within a group, so they never miss anything. Group leaders can also send messages directly to their entire group or individual group members through Realm Inbox and email and text their group members as needed.
Small groups are built on weekly, biweekly, or monthly meetings to fellowship and grow together. Realm gives group leaders the ability to create events to share details and allow RSVPs for small group gatherings. For instance, the Mom’s Group meets each Wednesday at 6 pm at a different group member’s home, and they each bring a covered dish to share. The group leader can create an event allowing group members to see the details, add what they are bringing, and even view a map for directions to the host home that week.
A few additional tools for your small group leaders include marking attendance directly in the Realm Connect mobile app and sharing files and resources through Realm to their entire group (for instance, a study guide).
Find a group to join
What would a small group be if there were no group members? Once you have your small groups created and group leaders ready to go, it’s time to promote your groups to your congregation. Encourage them to log into Realm and click on Groups > Find Groups. From here, your small groups will be categorized by the group type you chose when creating them.
Members can view all of your small groups or filter them down by their available days. Plus, search for a specific keyword such as “women” for groups that fit their preferences. Once they find a group they would like to join, they click on the group, view group details, and send a request to join the group. Group leaders receive requests to join and approve them to add members to their small group.
With Realm as your church management solution, you have all the tools you need to plan and organize your small groups, equip small group leaders, and share small groups with your congregation. Activate your small group ministry today with Realm.
Leigh Ann Shelley joined the ACST team in 2019 as a Product Marketing Manager, overseeing the launch and overall communication of key solutions to support the church’s needs. Prior to joining ACST, she spent several years in communications and graphic design roles, most notably as a Communications Director for a large church in Florence, SC, where she leveraged Realm to help solve key ministry challenges.
Big Church Made Small: Make Everyone Feel Known
Being a larger church does create more opportunities, but it also creates more ways for people to get lost. People should feel known at church. Our latest resource, Big Church Made Small: Make Everyone Feel Known shows a path you and your team can follow. And, to make it even easier and so you don’t miss any of our Church Growth Resources, you can also receive our ministry blog posts straight to your inbox!