A group agreement guides the group and helps ensure a healthy atmosphere for discussion and spiritual growth. Be sure to review it yearly and give it to the new people that join your group.
REVIEW A GROUP AGREEMENT YEARLY
What Is a “Covenant” in the Bible?
“Covenants” are biblical topics in both the Old Testament and New Testament. The Hebrew word for covenant is בְּרִית (bireet) and is used 287 times in the Old Testament. The Greek word for covenant is διαθήκη (diatheke) and is used 45 times in the New Testament. I have listed some of the examples of “covenant” use in the New Testament below with the word in italics as my emphasis
A Promise by God
This is what I am trying to say: The agreement God made with Abraham could not be canceled 430 years later when God gave the law to Moses. God would be breaking his promise. (Gal 3:17)
An Agreement Between God and Israel
This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and led them out of the land of Egypt. They did not remain faithful to my covenant, so I turned my back on them, says the LORD. (Heb 8:29)
An Establishment by the Death of Christ on Which Salvation is Secured
In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this in remembrance of me as often as you drink it.” (1 Cor 11:25)
Why Do a Group Agreement Yearly?
There are four reasons you need to do a group agreement every year in your small group.
It Helps the Church Have Updated Contact Information for the People in Your Group
We hope that when people attend church they will fill out the communication card, but that does not always happen. If you have your group complete the group agreement and turn it in, then the church is more likely to make sure it gets the contact information for all guests of church.
It Gives the Names, Emails, and Phone Numbers of Your Group Members to Each Other So That They Can Stay in Touch
One of the signs of a healthy small group is when the members stay in touch with each other outside of the group meetings. When you collect the group agreement forms you will want to send the contact information out to the group so that they can stay in touch with each other and talk to each other.[ref]The Chip Ingram studies produced by Living on the Edge have a “Group Roster” in the back of each study guide. This is a tool you can use to keep track of everyone’s contact information.[/ref]
It Contains Great Governing Principles That Will Help You Have A Healthy and Strong Small Group
Our church uses a “Covenant of Love” group agreement which lists seven “covenants” that the group members make.[ref]These are things that each person commits to do their best at (but not perfectly): faithful, punctual, edifying, open, confidential, gracious, and courteous.[/ref] These are biblical principles that will help your group love each other well and help you as a facilitator to lead a healthy small group.
It Is a Tool to Refer Back to When There Are Problems and Conflict
If your group starts to experience conflict, the group agreement is a tool that you refer back to for correction. If someone is not being gracious in your group (covenant number 6), then you can pull out the group agreement, review it, and have everyone fill it out again.
Doing the Group Agreement Yearly
It might feel redundant to do the group agreement each year, but in the long run it will help you to maintain a healthy and productive small group.