Each week at G4, our goal is to welcome new and committed participants alike.Our desire is to create a large group space that allows all to feel as though they are welcomed and benefit from the brief teaching that takes place in the large group. Having a large opening group gives a chance for individuals, specifically newer members who are present to accomplish the following three goals:
Normalize Group Experience
Walking into any room that is unknown with an unknown group of people can be intimidating. At a counseling ministry, the nerves present from walking into a room where small groups meet for the first time can be a barrier for some participants. The belief that no one else will understand can provide an overwhelming sense of anxiety for anyone who might participate.
In order to change the way in which individuals are introduced to our ministry, we have established a large group meeting before separating into our smaller groups. A major benefit of this large group is that it provides new participants a chance to meet their group leader before they are responsible for all the other members. Additionally, this allows the participant to see that there is a room of individuals who are also struggling with difficult things in life. While all those in the room may not be participating for the same reason, it does give a calming sense that others can understand the need for help and have also reached out for that help.
Lastly, having large group allows for individuals to all enter into the small group space at the same time. This allows for new participants not to feel all eyes on them as they walk into a room of participants who potentially know one another. This allows everyone to enter into group on equal footing.
Familiarity with G4 Leadership
A ministry such as G4 is built upon the trust that participants have with their leadership. This time allows the participants to get to know and build trust in leadership that is not present in their small group sessions. Whether it is the director, team leads, or other group leaders, this time gives participants the opportunity to see and hear from leaders who might provide a new and different perspective than they have heard in their own group. This helps participants not only build trust in the group that they are participating but in the ministry as a whole and thus become willing to recommend other groups to friends whose struggles are different than their own.
Understanding G4 Values and Model
Having all the participants together in one place allows for leadership to explain to those individuals that are participating the beliefs and structure of G4. Each week during large group the director or team lead covers either one of the core values for the ministry, or one of the steps found in the 9-step curriculum for sin or suffering. Each of these has a specific purpose, explained below.
Core Values: Working through this in large group allows for participants to hear the beliefs that G4 has as a ministry and the reason behind several of the things that we do as a ministry. Walking through the core values with the participants also allows them the be better informed so that they can decide whether or not our ministry will serve them well as they are working through the curriculum. Furthermore, having individuals hear core values such as number seven helps individuals consider whether or not they are ready to transition back into the larger community of the church.
9-Step Model: Although participants are confronted with these steps at each new chapter of the curriculum, speaking specifically to the steps broadly as opposed to the specifics of their situation helps to give perspective for the entirety of the recovery-support process. This serves two major purposes: for some, it allows them to have hope for the steps to come that progress is possible even if they have been stuck for what seems a long time, and for others, it provides a reminder of just how far they have come through their struggle giving them the motivation to continue.