A Code of Conduct For Small Groups

I started a new Bible study at a new church a couple of months ago.

Our first meeting had the typical “get-to-know-you” activities.

But also on the agenda was the “Code of Conduct”.

I was both curious and impressed.

The Women’s Ministry Leader:

  1. Reminded us that what is shared in the Bible study, needs to stay in the Bible study.
  2. Cautioned us not to over-share. IE. Sharing too much about our spouse can create a lot of awkwardness at church the next Sunday.
  3. Suggested ways to keep our prayer requests from becoming too personal – “Please pray for my husband and me as we deal with a parenting issue.”

She also reminded us that women usually process in one of two ways.

  1. Talkers – Talk through their thoughts and emotions to process ideas. They talk their way to the point. (That’s me!)
  2. Thinkers – Take it all in, thinking through their emotions and thoughts before finding the words to share.

Thinkers and Talkers process differently

She suggested that the “talkers” give the “thinkers” time to process and the space to speak up. She also reminded the “thinkers” to be patient with the “talkers” as they process out loud.

I thought this was a great way to discuss group dynamics and encourage the group members to give everyone a chance to share.

Sometimes we forget that our women need some gentle reminders.

Sometimes we forget that our women need some gentle reminders

Some other items you might want to add to your Code of Conduct:

  1. Refrain from using names in prayer requests and discussion. Or just use first names. You never know who in the group might know your neighbor, Susie Jones.
  2. Prayer requests need to be related to your immediate family or phrased in a way that is personal to you – IE. Please pray for our family as we minister to Jane as she goes through chemo.
  3. Protect the prayer requests shared within the group – do not forward emails and take care to dispose of them properly.
  4. Refrain from using the names of books, pastors, TV shows, etc. as doing so can be divisive and not Biblically accurate. Our focus should be God’s Word, not the words of others.

Distributing your Code of Conduct in writing is another way to make sure your women take it seriously.

When a new girl joins the study make sure you share your Code of Conduct with her too.

Codes of Conduct aren’t just for Bible study groups.

They should be a part of every small group. Every discussion group. Every breakout group.

Your Women’s Ministry Team should abide by a Code of Conduct as well.

One more note: It could be easy to get carried away and create a 30 point document – which would not be well received by your ladies.

Pray through what guidelines God is leading you to include and make sure you carefully review the wording so that the words come through with the compassion and grace intended.

Your turn to share: What would you add to the Code of Conduct?

You may also want to read:
Tips & Tools for Bible Study and Small Group Facilitators
How Women’s MinistryTeams Select Bible Studies
Why I’m Tired of Bible Study Books

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