To make our small group time as effective as possible, here are our 8 guidelines that all groups follow.
The 8 Guidelines
to make our groups a place where our members feel safe to be vulnerable. We let them determine their own safety zones. That means they can talk about as much as they want or as little as they want. The goal is to have everyone expand those comfort zones as time elapses.
in H.O.P.E. stays in H.O.P.E. (except in a rare case where a person’s safety and health are threatened and the responsible thing is to do otherwise). We want everyone to feel free and safe to share his or her issues without the threat of judgment or exposure.
the responsible individual will be required to address the entire group and we will handle it in the group setting.
that defines H.O.P.E. is that we are here to welcome anyone who comes to us for help. We are here to welcome everyone, along with their problems and pain. This means that we are very serious about not allowing any other agendas to develop within the ministry that conflict with our principles, goals, purpose, vision, and guidelines. If you see or experience a problem in this area at any time that you are a member of one of our H.O.P.E. groups, please bring it to the attention of your group leader.
are not professional counselors. We are here to support, encourage and assist you on your journey through God’s process of transformation. By inserting the truth in God’s word and the power of the Holy Spirit into our issues our groups gain strength and freedom.
If more intensive therapy is desired, we can refer you to individuals who can help you pursue that independently of this group.
actions of all H.O.P.E. members are accountable to the other group members, leaders, and the guidelines of H.O.P.E. We will not allow H.O.P.E. members to act in a manner that deviates from our purpose, principles or guidelines.
we will not meet with group members of the opposite sex alone outside of the group. However, if needed, the leaders will make themselves available to group members by telephone, email or group meetings. (In all situations, a third party is highly recommended in meetings, on conference calls or copied on written communications). Plus, we highly encourage group members to meet in safe situations outside of the group and develop their support networks.
involve other parties, we will limit our remarks to those in the first person. We will not allow the “bashing” of others. We are not here to criticize, condemn or attack others; we are here to support you.
It is important that the focus remains on you so you can be healed and set free. During the time of Checking In, we also have our members limit their remarks to 5-10 minutes in order to give everyone an equal opportunity to share.
other group members are not to interrupt them. Checking In is to be free from disruptions, interruptions, criticism or judgmental comments. As long as the information you share is focused on how you feel about it or how it is affecting you (good, bad or ugly), we want to hear about it.
What you share can be directly related to a topic from the lessons, totally unrelated to the lesson topics and about something happening in your life right now, or somewhere in between.
gets “off track” or becomes inappropriate, it is the group leader’s responsibility to direct them back on course. At the completion of a member’s Checking In, if other group members want to share supportive and encouraging remarks, that is OK. In fact, we encourage it. Just remember Guideline 4 and that this is not therapy and those comments are not to be interpreted as professional advice.