Below are logistics to consider to ensure that your small group runs smoothly:
Where will your events be held?
Will your collaborative events be held at the same place each week, or will they move about? What is fair for participants who may be coming a long way to be together?
What time will your events be held?
Please take into consideration extra travel time, and who will be in your small groups. For instance, if your small group is mostly made up of retirees, you might consider meeting during the day so that your small group members do not need to drive after dark. Facilitators and hosts should also check the parish calendars to make sure that there aren’t any major scheduling conflicts.
In addition to basic hospitality outlined in our standard small group guides, it is vitally important when different groups come together that the visiting group is warmly welcomed into the host’s space. It should not be assumed that visitors will know what to do with their coats, or where the restrooms are. Visitors from the other parish should be welcomed like honored guests.
Should we provide food?
This is a choice that is often restricted by where and when the group meets. Of course, table ministry was central to Jesus and his followers, and Christian small groups have been meeting over and before meals ever since! We do recommend that, wherever possible, groups share meal fellowship together.
Should we provide childcare?
Again, this depends on your group. If you do decide to provide childcare, we recommend that the group meet where the participants (especially harried parents!) won’t be distracted by the children. If you do decide to provide childcare, please refer to your diocesan or parish guidelines about how to provide safe childcare.
How will you communicate with participants?
In multi-parish settings, communication is especially important. Be sure to have all of the participant’s information and be ready to communicate through different channels to reach everyone. When individuals join your program, please collect their name, phone and email so you have multiple ways of contacting your participants. Depending on your demographics, you may find the easiest way to communicate is to set up a group text message or closed Facebook group.
How will participants be notified of changes to session location, time or cancellation?
In case of inclement weather or illness, your event may have to be postponed. This decision should be a joint decision made by leadership, and communicated to everyone. A decision to change the meeting should be communicated several different ways to ensure that everyone knows about the change. If at all possible, place a physical sign at the original meeting place to alert those who did not get the message or forgot.
If you are doing an in-person small group, please see Standard Small Group Logistics for further information.