What should happen during a support group?
If you are using a designed curriculum or plan, the material will probably suggest a specific format for you to follow. If you are structuring your own group, you will want to include the following:
- someone to serve as the facilitator
This person serves as a guide and a servant-leader, not as a dictator or monopolizer of the group.
- a get acquainted time
This is essential particularly if you have newcomers to the group. For regular attendees it helps to build community.
- a springboard question or topic
This could also be a brief instructional or devotional time out of which discussion will grow.
- opportunity for everyone to participate in sharing where they are in their journey
Guard against conversation dominators. And, do not force someone to share who is not yet comfortable.
- sharing of prayer requests
This may not be appropriate if your group consists of believers and unbelievers.
- continuation of sharing informally
This often happens naturally over refreshments.
- occasionally invite a guest speaker or have a special event
This, however, should not be the norm because you need to structure for adequate sharing time.
What are essential elements in a good support group?
an atmosphere of trust
sense of belonging
In essence, people need to feel safe if they are going to open up and share their deepest feelings with one another. If they sense people are out to judge them or "fix" them, they may find it difficult to share. If they believe people care about them and accept them as they are, they will be more likely to open up and share.
The content on this page is included in the People Helping Ministry Manual along with encouragement to develop a referral list to give to group members should they need help outside of the support group.
- What is a support group?
- What makes a support group different from other small groups?
- Who will tend to go to a support group?
- Where should the support group meet?
- Who can facilitate a support group & what should the facilitator do?
- Support Groups as a Shepherding Venue
- Support Groups Resources