“Preparation is not my strong suit,” Bill explains. Bill usually “flies by the seat of his pants” when it comes to his group. He says that he likes his group to be “free and spontaneous.” Lately, attendance has begun to drop off. No one has invited any guests in awhile. The people in his group have begun to complain. They say the group is usually “just sharing Bill’s pet peeves.”

On the other hand, Dan and his apprentice Doug get together every Monday night to prepare for their Tuesday night small group meeting. The two hours they spend praying and preparing makes the one and a half hour meeting successful. Their group has grown. The group members look forward to coming every week and are not ashamed to invite guests. Dan and Doug have learned that a successful small group meeting does not just happen; it is the product of planning, prayer, and preparation.

The highly effective small group leader develops the habit of preparing for the group meeting. He carves out the time and puts in the effort to be ready for “the most important hour and a half of the week.” He knows that the beginning of leadership is “knowing where you are going.” He prepares each week so that he knows where the group is going when it meets. Weekly preparation keeps a group moving upward and onward for God.

The fifth habit of the highly effective small group leader: Prepare for the group meeting.

Dave Earley, 8 Habits of Effective Small Group Leaders (Touch Outreach Ministries, 2001).