We recommend that two leaders run each small group: a facilitator and a host.
Two leaders per group may seem overwhelming if you are planning on multiple small groups, but in fact, asking for two leaders with different skills makes asking easier. While ideal leaders are mature in their faith, neither needs to have theological training. In fact, too much confidence in one’s own knowledge about Christianity can be a detriment to small group conversation. For both leaders, curiosity is more important than expertise.
Facilitators ensure all participants are able to fully share in the conversation and that the group makes progress. They organize the group, communicate to members, prepare the session, and guide conversation. Facilitators should have the gifts of listening and guiding, as well as good organizational skills. They should be able to clearly communicate in person and in writing, and should genuinely love other people and want to grow in Christ.
Hosts are responsible for opening and closing the group’s time together. They make sure that the meeting space is ready, are responsible for coordinating food, and ensuring that participants feel welcome and comfortable. Hosts should have the gifts of hospitality and encouragement, and be willing to participate in the small group discussion. They are the primary relationship builders in the group. Depending on your context, hosts may, but do not need to, host the small group gathering in their home.
It should go without saying that your facilitator and host should get along, although they need not be friends previously.