Getting started – who should I invite?
Find one other man who would like to join you in a Men’s Small Group. Pray with him that God would show you a third man to invite to join you. Approach that third man, explaining that after prayer you both would like him to join you. Then all three men pray together for a fourth. The ideal group size is four to five men.
• Existing friendships. Relationship-building has already commenced.
• Shared interests often give a common bond.
• Men who live reasonably locally. Long travel times makes meeting together harder.
• Diverse ethnicities/social groups can be challenging but build understanding.
• Faithful men. Character is better than ability in the long run.
• Men who want to grow spiritually and are prepared for the commitment necessary to do so.
• Men who will pray for the others during the week.
• Men who maintain the confidentiality necessary to build trust.
• Men who participate with openness and honesty as trust is built.
What is the commitment?
• Ask for an initial commitment of 4-6 weeks as a trial. Start with one of the Promise Keepers Study Guide series and meet for 1 to 1½ hours each week. At the end of the agreed trial period, evaluate how the group is going and fine tune it. Invite the guys to continue on with the rest of the Study Guide. This trial period allows an honourable exit point if the group doesn’t suit a guy.
• Each man needs to commit to making it a top priority to attend the meeting. The group won’t function well with regular absenteeism.
• Commit to pray for other group members.
Points to agree on:
• When shall we meet? Many groups meet for an hour or so, early in the morning (for example 6.15am to 7.30am) so that it does not conflict with family time. Other groups meet at night which allows slightly more time (for example from 7.30pm to 9pm). Whatever time you select, ensure you faithfully observe both start and finish times.
• Where shall we meet? A neutral venue that allows privacy is important so that you can discuss freely issues that arise, without embarrassment and interruption. It is also important that you can pray freely. Work or church venues are good. Homes where other family members may be present will inhibit discussion and confidentiality.
• How should we use our time? We would suggest a timeframe as follows:
– 10 minutes: What challenges/victories have you had in the last week?
– 40 minutes: Do this week’s study.
– 10 minutes: Pray for one another.
We would suggest an hour minimum. If you take longer it allows more time for prayer and relationship building.
• Should our group be open or closed? In other words, will other men be joining as you go along? When you start a Men’s Small Group you begin a journey with each of the men in that group. You get to know them, trust them, are honest and open with them. When a new person joins that group the journey begins again. Therefore, a closed group can go deeper relationally. An open group will go backwards on the journey again on a regular basis and will not be able to go as deep relationally.
How can we jumpstart our group relationally?
You can learn more about each other and grow together more quickly if you get out from around the table. Here are some ideas:
• Go away together for a weekend. Tell your life stories.
• Do a project together. Men learn by working together.
• Do a social activity involving families. Get to know each other’s families and men’s backgrounds.