COVID-19 Resources

In our current context of social distancing, churches and small groups are having to find new ways to meet together. We hope these tips will help you use Books by the Box to continue making disciples in your church, neighborhood, workplace, or friend group.

Facilitating an Online Men's Group

Jesus Christ launched his divine plan to redeem mankind by making disciples out of a small group. He used that small group to create momentum and keep it going. The question, of course, is why would He do that? Why a small group? 

Most meaningful change takes place in the context of relationships—men sharpening men with truth, encouragement, and commitment. THANK YOU for your willingness to be a part of this transformative time in the lives of your group members.

Here's How It Works (click on a topic to expand):

1. Choose the book that best fits the needs of your group. Consider the subject, length, and what you’ve used in the past:

2. Order the book and then deliver it to your group members. Here’s some suggestions:

  • If your church is OPEN – consider setting up a men’s ministry table (if you don’t have one already) in the foyer or front of the church where men can come pick up their book separately.
  • If your church is CLOSED – have a designated leader order the books to his home. Then ask the group leaders to come pick up the books and distribute books to the group members. NOTE: This is a great way to serve your men—text them and find out if they have any other needs before delivering their book to their mailbox or front porch.

Gather online when you can’t meet face-to-face.

Our go-to tool for video meetings is Zoom. The free version allows large groups to meet for 40 minutes, set recurring meeting times, send calendar invites, use breakout rooms for smaller groups to talk or pray together, and more. It has an easy-to-use interface and features.

Here is a video tutorial we recommend, especially if you are new to Zoom: Getting Started with Zoom

NOTE: If sound quality on your video call is an issue, ask men to mute their microphones when they aren’t answering a question or discussing something.

Have each man introduce himself. You may want to have a light-hearted icebreaker prepared to help guys open up, such as the question “What is an item on your bucket list?” or the game “Two Truths and a Lie” to help guys get to know each other.

Consider asking each man to take just a couple of minutes to share briefly where he is on his spiritual journey, and what he hopes to give and get out of the group study. Don’t try to go too far too fast; be sensitive to men who may take longer to decide to share.

Before you end the call, make sure each man has a copy of the book and knows when the next meeting is. Ask them to read the chapter PRIOR to your next meeting.

  • Greeting and a quick icebreaker question—10 minutes
  • Discussion about previous week’s chapter and reflection questions—5 minutes
  • Group discussion questions—20 minutes
  • Prayer requests—5 minutes

Consider creating a private Facebook Group where guys can interact, discuss the devotions, and share prayer requests during the week.

Pros: It’s free, and many men already have a Facebook account, so that’s one less thing for your guys to figure out, as most of them will already know how to use the features.

Use the group to post one of the reflection questions from the chapter and share something from your own devotion time. You might also share the chapter’s key verses or quotes, ask an icebreaker question, share a humorous meme, or share and request prayer requests.

This will enrich your small-group experience by helping guys get to know each other better and stay connected.

In the case of these groups, your primary role is to help facilitate the groups—not teach. Your leadership will be geared toward steering discussion and making men feel cared for and supported.

Call or text your group members each week. This can be a short call or text that simply expresses, “I’m glad you’re in the group and I’ll see you Thursday,” for example. Contacting each man helps him feel like a valued member of the group and encourages him to prioritize the meeting.

It is up to you to set the tone for the group; be authentic, enthusiastic, and affirming. Remember—a small group is many things, including a hospital for men with broken wings; make yours a safe place for men. Don’t put pressure on them to conform to certain behavior. Instead, simply show men Christ and welcome them.

Make sure group members know that anything mentioned during meetings is confidential and is not to leave the group.

It’s also important that you honor the time during your group meetings. Aim to start and end on time every week. Always thank group members for participating before they leave.

Airtime for every man every week. Draw out the quiet man without making him feel uncomfortable. Sense his pace. If you have a man who talks too much, ask him privately to help you draw out the more reserved men.

Don’t talk more than 25% of the time. If there is silence when you ask a question, don’t try to fill the space. The chapters each have discussion questions in them. Use these to steer the direction of the group meeting.

Encourage more than one person to answer a question with a statement such as, “Does anyone else have a thought about that?”

"Never doubt the power of a small group of people to change the world. That’s about the only way it has ever happened in the past." – Margaret Mead, Anthropologist

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