How your group ends matters. It will shape how you view the entire experience. So, be mindful of these three questions that tend to occur in this order, and some action-points for each, as you approach the patio season in the life cylce of your group.
The ultimate evaluation question! Was our time and experience in this group worth it? Ending is always hard. The feeling of loss is real and should be acknowledged. If a group ends too abruptly (not adequate time to process and plan for the ending) it tends to multiply the intensity of people’s emotions in the midst of the change. A great setup for the conversations about ending is to ask your group members to begin reflecting on the impact this group has had on their life, and try to be specific. Some questions you might consider using:
Two keys to ending well…
1. Let the calendar be your friend, not an obstacle.
Keep in mind that everyone processes change at a different pace. Don’t spring this on them–make sure you give your group participants plenty of time to process. Introducing the idea of ending/multiplying 8-10 weeks before you actually plan to end is ideal.
While there may be some circumstantial factors influencing when you end, take into account the natural rhythms of the calendar. Leading into summer, or leading into the late-Fall holiday season are great times to end, because it gives them a brief season to process the change leading into natural times for new group launches (January and August).
2. Over communicate!
When in stressful situations (and yes, this is a stressful situation), we tend not to do our best listening. So, make sure you over-communicate through this process. Remember that as the leader you’ve been thinking about this strategically for some time, much more than your group members have. Be patient, and communicate clearly, honestly, and repetitively!
Need a study to end with?
This is a 3 session study guide to help you lead through the conversation about ending/multiplying your group.
This is the compliment to the Community: Starting Well starter study we’ve used for the last several years. This is just two sessions–but not designed to be done back to back. Rather, you do session one as a stand-alone before you start your last study together as a group. This sets the stage for where you’re going. Then you do your last study together and then come back to session two, which is the wrap up. Videos and Leader’s Guide are available at the link above.