- Ask God to guide you
Want to launch a Life Recovery Group but don’t know where to start? Starting a support group may seem challenging, exciting, overwhelming, and inspiring! You can ask the Lord for wisdom and strength. After all, He is where your help comes from! Psalm 121:1-2 says, “I look up to the mountains—does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!”
- Pick a time and place
If you want to launch a successful Life Recovery Group, do you know the best time and place for you to meet? Decide a time and day of the week to meet—evenings and weekdays work well for most. Then pick a place. For example, a church may be a good fit for your group. Or, you could try to find a free or low-cost meeting space at a local:
- Community center
- Retirement center
- Put a team together
The idea of starting a Life Recovery Group seems intimidating. But you don’t have to start a group on your own. Instead, get a team to help you! Maybe check with your friends, coworkers or your church to see if others have been looking for a group. Discover what each person can offer as you begin your group organization.
- Choose a topic
What topic will be your focus for this Life Recovery Group? Get your team to help decide a topic for the group and begin to publicize your group. Letting the public know your group’s focus will help promote the group, generate interest, and get more people to participate.
- Get resources
Will the group be curriculum-based in which your members go through a workbook or a study? Or will the small group discuss one of the 12-Steps every month? If you do decide to use a workbook or study and need suggestions- call New Life and ask!
- Connect with your community
If you go to a church, meet with your pastor or another church leader to let them know about your group. Another great way is to connect with licensed counselors, other churches in the area and post on social media. Having a good connection with your community will help people find your group.
- Develop a consistent format
Nothing is worse than a meeting that’s disorganized. Decide a consistent format for every meeting and make sure you follow it. There are many different ways to conduct a group. If you honor the time set for the group, provide guidelines that the group will follow each time you meet, and you have a structure the group will thrive. Here are a few small group rules you might want to consider:
- Limit sharing to 3 to 5 minutes per person
- There is no cross-talk (interruptions from others)
- Do not allow anyone to give advice
- Anything shared in the group is confidential
- Notify leader if anyone might be a danger to themselves or others
- Provide leadership training
Meet together with your team before you actually start the group. Be sure you’re developing relationships with each person and urge them to go to you if they have any ideas or concerns. Encourage them to begin new groups as needed.
- Decide a Launch Date
Pick a date several weeks in advance. Be sure to start to advertise the date and get the word out. A good way to do this is through connecting with local churches, coffee shops, recreational centers, hospitals, community centers, newspapers, and counseling centers. Don’t forget to advertise through social media and ask your team to share.
- Plan a practice session
Are you ready for the first meeting yet? Have a practice session! Like a dress rehearsal before a play, a practice session allows you and your leaders to work out the kinks. Start by setting an example for your leaders to follow by having your materials ready, getting there on time, and starting your group on time. Afterward, allow your leaders to debrief and go over how the practice session went so you can make any changes necessary before the first meeting.
- Time for the first meeting!
You’ll probably be nervous before the first meeting, but don’t let your anxiety get the best of you! Instead, give yourself plenty of time to prepare ahead and meet with your leaders for prayer beforehand. You could have water and coffee available and let people socialize informally before and after the meeting to get to know each other. Don’t forget to have name tags and a contact sheet available. After the meeting, debrief with the leaders. Urge small group leaders to contact everyone in their groups and connect with them.
No matter how each meeting goes, remember this: There may be ups and downs to starting a Life Recovery Group, but it is worth doing! Faithfully do your part, and trust God to do His. Let the apostle Paul’s words encourage you, “God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:24