At a Home. It is just something about having small group in a home. It allows people to relax, open up, and get deeper in conversation. When my wife was on maternity leave, I hosted small group at the church. The teens were devastated. They loved coming to our home. In fact, there were some students that rarely came to small group before we hosted in our home. Now, they are not only regular attendees, but regular contributors in conversation and interaction. (Disclaimer: Nothing wrong with hosting small group at a church due to size of group or other issues)+
Small-er Groups for Prayer. First, don’t forget prayer. That’s a non-negotiable, and should not just be a “tack-on” at the end of small group. Second, it may work better if prayer was done in smaller groups. This allows for more detailed prayer requests, prohibits just one person from dominating the requests (you know this happens), and provided a more intimate prayer session. (Idea: If you are worried about not hearing all the requests, appoint a group leader to write down requests and hand to the small group leader for the main prayer list).
Shortened Lesson. Don’t cheapen or water-down the lesson, simply shorten the lesson. It is important to allow for discussion and prayer time within the small group. The leader needs to try to be consistent with this, especially if there are prayer and discussion leaders that have prepared as well. You do not want to discount their preparation.
Variety. Small groups typically is an eclectic group of people. So this requires two things: a variety of topics and a variety of teaching methods. For topics, there may be a need for parenting discussion, spiritual disciplines, Book of the Bible study…the list is endless, but continue to be diverse and creative. Also, especially if teaching is not your forte, be willing to use DVD studies, curriculum, or other outside sources to complement the small group teaching.
Food. Last, but certainly not least, food. Food is always a great way for life on life discussions to happen. In our group, we do a snack last, which allows for casual conversation and also intentional life change conversations to happen as well. Food has a way of bringing people together, which should be a goal of your small group.