Ten Quick Tips for Leading Groups Online (#7 is a game changer!)

If you’ve never led a group online these tips can help! (Many work for live groups as well.)

1) Pray for your group as you prepare. Even if you are preparing on the fly, shoot up a breathe prayer for God to guide.

2) Open up with a greeting and give a quick overview of what is going to happen. 

For us at Worship Center - that’s easy! We walk through the pathway provided just after the message notes in the app. (Here's an example.)

3) Inform, or remind, people of a couple best practices.

  • How to mute your mic and when that is important - like if there is any background noise at all: children, animals, traffic, etc.
  • Where to find the gallery view or speaker view.
  • Highlight the chat option, if your online service offers that.

(I LOVE the chat option for online groups. It provides an opportunity for everyone to participate at the same time. Try using it with a question like: “Of the three things mentioned, which one stands out to you and why?” Everyone can type in the chat at the same time and process the information without waiting for their turn.)

4) Don’t linger too long on the details of the online platform.

It can be overwhelming to give too much information at first. Eventually they will figure out how to change their background or share their screens... For now, it’s enough that they made it onto the platform! Don’t overwhelm them with options!

5) Have a rough timeline in your mind of how long each section of the group session will go. For Worship Center, it could look something like this:

  • 30 min. Sharing high/lows
  • 5 min. Message Review
  • 10 min. Open up question
  • 20 min. Selected Discussion questions (Select your top two, have someone else pick or allow each person to choose which question they want to comment on.)
  • 20 min. Engage question - silent prayer and then commitment
  • 20 min. Prayer

You can adjust the times to suit your group, but PLEASE don’t skip the Engage portion! That may be the easiest one to skip and is so valuable to help people move from an intellectual faith to an implementation of their faith. 

The Holy Spirit is ready and willing to guide us all into truth and help us walk it out in our lives. (John 16:13)

6) Go first. The leader should most often go first so as to model about how long responses should be as well as to lead the way in authenticity.

7) ALWAYS choose someone to share and then ask them to choose the next person. Many awkward moments of people starting to talk at the same time or elongated silence can be avoided by this one simple tip.

8) Stick to the timeline as much as possible. If necessary let people know, “We’re all sharing so well tonight that we’re going to keep to our schedule by skipping the Open up question and only doing one discussion question.”

If you have to streamline things the top three to prioritize are: the high/lows, the engage questions and praying together. If you haven’t been hitting these three for sure every week this is a great time for a reset! (Just be honest and tell your people you want to hit the reset button.)

9) Remember to log your attendance. This is even more valuable at a time like this are we are trying to make sure our people are connected. Doing the attendance also gives you a moment to process your group and send questions or comments to your team leader.

10) Pray for your group. Again, it doesn’t have to be long, but God loves it when we talk to Him about our people. Book end prayers is a beautiful way to make that happen!

Thank you for leading a small group! Connected people grow and you are a part of making that happen!

Feeling called to lead a group? If you are a Worship Center member just click this link and we will work with you! If you go to another church contact your church leaders. 

Groups can make all the difference!

Hebrews 10:25 “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”


Want more:

Top Ten Tips for Small Group Leaders 

P.S. The pic is our actual small group minus Craig, who is working round the clock administrating a nursing home. You are in our prayers Craig.


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