Organizing your Sharing Group
A sequence for your first few meetings:
Prayer. Have a short opening prayer, so it is clear that the meeting has begun. Include a request for the Holy Spirit to prompt people to say things that will build up the others.
Deepening acquaintance. Start with ice-breaking questions (see list of ice breakers at the bottom of this page)
Bible-based study. see Finding Bible Studies)
Apply. As part of the study, ask people how they would apply the concepts in daily life. See guidance for leading discussions
Share. Continue on to ask about personal needs and about others who need prayer. The leader goes first in the personal sharing time, to set a model
Prayer. Include group prayer at the comfort-level of your group (see suggestions at bottom)
Decisions. Each time, talk about a few of the choices listed in the next section, below.
End. Set the precedent of ending at the promised time
Adapt. After the first few meetings, you may decide to change the order to a way fitting to your group.
Helping the group to shape itself.
The choices below would be discussed and resolved by the group during first few meetings
1. Food/no food
2. Singing/no singing
3. Do service projects/only have meetings
4. Concentrate on your church’s members/purposely include people from other churches
5. Talk about goals and hopes for the group
6. Agree how to select your next topic
7. Agree whether to plan to divide the group if it gets to be above a certain number
8. Agree what to do when the year is over, such as:
a. Encourage formation of new groups; or
b. Keep the same people together for another year
Committing to the Decisions
We encourage groups to write a “covenant.”
What is a covenant? We mean a document CREATED BY the group and then SIGNED individually by the group members. (link to sample) By signing, the members commit to the group and to one another for the purpose and time period agreed upon.
What is in a covenant? The covenant would include the decisions made about the topics listed above under “helping the group to shape itself.”.
Each individual would have a chance to individually accept the covenant, thus agreeing to:
Attend regularly for the duration agreed upon.
Accept the group goals and commit to bring them about.
Converse in a way that builds up the others.
Keep personal sharing confidential.
Assuming your group will welcome visitors, you need to decide at what point to invite a frequent visitor to consider joining the covenant.
What is the value of a covenant? The covenant provides security to group members, because they know they can take the time to attend knowing that others will be there, and that each member is committed to the success of the group.
Next page provides ongoing guidance for your group.
More about group prayer:
Introducing group prayer:
If the group is not accustomed to spontaneous oral prayer, you could:
1. Give everyone a chance to write a prayer and then read it
2. Give people a chance to bring up something they are thankful for, and then give them time
to formulate their thoughts and say the same thing in a prayer.
Prayer Options. Here are various ways to have a time of prayer:
1. Leader prays, after taking prayer requests
2. After sharing requests, a different person volunteers to pray for each request.
3. Pray in the order you are seated. In this kind of prayer, a person who wishes to remain silent would give a pre-arranged signal such as touching the arm of the next person. This is sometimes called a circle prayer. It is also common to join hands during a circle prayer, and in that case the signal is to press the hand of the next person in the circle.
4. People pray in random order (sometimes called a “popcorn prayer”). Rather than saying a long prayer, say one topic in just a few sentences, then pause. Someone else may then have a chance to pick up on the same topic. You can say another topic later in the prayer.
5. Pray with one other person. This is a good opportunity to use one of the Apostle Paul’s prayers, inserting the person’s name where Paul wrote “you.” These prayers are Ephesians 1, Ephesians 3, and Colossians 1.
6. Pray in groups of 3 or 4. Each person then has a greater opportunity to say something.
7. The leader can prepare a printed responsive prayer.
8. Everyone can say the same prayer together – the Lord’s prayer, or a printed prayer.
Ice Breakers and Discussion Starters
What is your favorite movie of all time and why?
What is the dumbest movie you’ve ever seen and why?
Who is your favorite movie actor?
Who is your favorite movie actress?
What is your favorite TV show?
Who is your favorite TV actor and why?
Who is your favorite TV actress and why?
What is a favorite TV commercial of yours and why?
Who is your favorite comedian and why?
What is your favorite song and why?
What is the best book you ever read and why?
What is your favorite magazine?
What is your favorite cartoon and why?
If I could spend a day with anyone who has ever lived (not Jesus) it would be.
My favorite news reporter of all time is…
What do you do during commercial breaks?
The house I grew up in was like…
The town I grew up in was like…
My favorite relative when I was 10 was…
Where were you living between the ages of 7-12?
What were the winters like between the ages of 7-12?
What was the worst storm you’ve ever been in?
The disciplinarian in my family was…and disciplined in this way…
My best birthday was when I…
My worst birthday was when I…
What do you know about your parents’ courtship?
What is the birth order of your family and where did you fall in it?
Share one time you got into big trouble with your parents.
Have you ever gone skinny dipping, how old were you, and what was the situation?
When was war made real to you?
Whom did you envy as a child and why?
The best vacation I’ve ever been on was…
Describe the school you attended in the 4th grade.
What was something unique about your high school.
Describe your favorite teacher in elementary school.
Describe your favorite teacher in high school.
What did you do during summers as a child?
What was one chore you did as a child that you hated?
Describe one thing that has been stolen from you.
What was one thing that you stole from someone else?
What is one object which you sold and wish you hadn’t?
What was one family remedy for colds that always seemed to work?
If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?
If you would be a car, what type would you be and why?
If you were a tree, what type would you be and why?
What is the first thing you hear when you get up in the morning?
What is one daily ritual for you?
Who do you feel would (seriously) make a great President?
What time of day are you most productive and why?
When do you work on your big projects?
What is your full name? Where did it come from? Do you like it and why?
How do you want your children or grandchildren to remember you?
Who has the most patience in your family?
How would you spend your last day on earth if you were given 1 day to live?
Where do you like to spend time alone?
If you could change your name what would it be?
What caused you to laugh the hardest this week?
What has been a place for you to get away from it all?
What age do you find children most adorable and why?
Describe the strangest dream you’ve ever had.
Describe a practical joke played on you.
Describe a practical joke you played on someone else.
What would you be doing right now if you were not here?
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
What is one thing that really irritates you?
When you travel, what do you take along that makes you feel “at home”?
What type of driver are you?
How did you and your spouse meet?
What totally disgusts you?
What is one situation that makes you laugh every time you think about it?
What is one good thing you can say about your boss?
What is your favorite fabric for clothes and why?
What are your favorite type of shoes and why?
What is your favorite color and why?
What is one unusual smell that you enjoy?
My favorite meal is…
If I could travel to anywhere in the U.S. it would be to…
If I could travel to anywhere in the world it would be to…
What would be the best place in the world that you could live?
Where would be the worst place in the world that you could live?
What is your favorite fast food restaurant and why?
Describe a favorite heirloom or antique you still have.
What is your favorite way of long distance travel?
What would be your ideal home?
If money were not a factor, what type of car would you own?
source: handout from Immanuel Lutheran church