Get Creative!

Bailee Gilmer - Small Groups Administrative Assistant | Real Life Ministries Texas, Tomball, TX

Wednesdays are my favorite night of the week. I host and lead a small group of ladies on Wednesdays each week, and it completely fills me up every single time. We eat dinner, catch up, dive deep into the Word, and discuss what God has put on our hearts. It is a space to gather and spiritually, relationally, and emotionally grow. It’s beautiful to be a part of a group that loves each other well by praying and doing life together. With only an hour and a half, we make the most of our time. It can be challenging to cultivate authentic relationships with each person in that short time, especially if we keep inviting new people! So, I must get creative! I found ways that made a difference and impacted those in my group…outside the group.

Here are a few things I do:

  1. Group Chat – I started a group chat that we are all on with the purpose of staying connected throughout the week. We send prayer requests and encouragements to each other and update the group if we have anything to report. The day after we meet for small group, I send out a devotional related to the story/topics we are learning about and ask them to post their responses to the reflection questions in the group chat. This opens the floor for intentional conversations and allows us to get to know each other a little better within our responses. It’s also a great way to remind everyone in the group to pause from the busyness of life and get into the Word each day, even if it’s just for a short amount of time.
  2. Phone calls/text messages – I call each person in my small group individually throughout the week and check on them or send a quick text message that says, “Just thinking about you, how is your week going” or “What is one thing I can be praying with you about this week” It’s something that I do that is so small on my part yet goes such a long way to grow relationships and stay connected.
  3. Coffee or lunch dates – I am blessed with a flexible schedule for the most part, so I try to schedule 1 or 2 quick coffee or lunch dates a week to intentionally connect with my small group ladies. I love having one-on-one time together because it provides a space for us to ask questions and grow in our faith and in our relationship together. I find that people are usually a little more likely to share a bit more of who they are if we are one-on-one rather than with a group of people.
  4. Regular life events – My small group isn’t just a group of people that I meet with each week to check a box. They are my sisters and dearest friends, and we go out of our way to intentionally do life together. Whether it’s surprise birthday parties, baptisms, Friendsgiving feasts, Christmas pajama parties, or going to the movies to watch The Chosen and crying together as we shove our faces full of popcorn.

Whatever the occasion, we make a point to be in each other’s lives. And that is exactly what we are called to do by King Jesus – to love God and love others as ourselves, the greatest and most important commandment per Jesus.
Staying connected to my group outside of our regular meeting times not only provides a space for lifelong authentic friendships to form but it ultimately helps me grow into a better disciple maker and that’s the goal!

Bailee Gilmer
Small Groups Administrative Assistant
Real Life Ministries Texas
Tomball, TX