Of course, there's no such thing as a "perfect" group, but these principles will help.
Okay, so the title of this post is a stretch; I realize there is no “perfect” small group. That said, here are four principles below that truly contribute to a great small group experience.
1. Be Prepared
Small group members should be prepared when they arrive for their group. Many people will think this applies to the use of certain curricula, but being prepared is much more than doing homework! Being prepared applies to the daily spiritual life of group members! Going to church once per week does not produce dramatic spiritual growth. Simply adding one more ingredient like a small group won’t make much difference either. Ongoing encounters with God make people grow spiritually. Group members should always be encouraged to spend time with God throughout their week. This is their primary “preparation” for a small group gathering.
2. Be Present
People who join a group and don’t come regularly will not grow as consistently as those who are committed to being there every time. Remember, Hebrews 10:25 commands (it doesn’t suggest) us to “…not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing.” This doesn’t mean we should be legalistic about group attendance, but it does mean that that we should take it seriously. Remember, God not only created us for a personal relationship with Jesus, but He also created us for a corporate relationship with Christ! As followers of Christ, something amazing happens when the faith of two or more people are combined: our faith is multiplied. This is because faith is contagious. When we are around others who have faith, we catch it, and our own faith is boosted! This is why being present is one of the things that makes small group discipleship work.