Frequently Asked Questions
Questions about community? You’re in the right spot! Browse below or click on one of the following topics:
Q: When do Cultivate groups start?
A: Cultivate groups meet on an ongoing basis. The beauty of our format is that we aren’t limited by schedules, space or seasons. Any woman can start or join a group when they’re ready. Our Sandals Church Groups Calendar has been created to help you establish healthy rhythms to connect, rest and build meaningful relationships one quarter at a time.
Q: How do I start a group?
A: Starting your own group is one of the best ways to cultivate community! Just complete a Start A Group form. You can choose the day, time and location as well as decide if you’ll welcome kids and be an open group for other women to join – which we encourage! When you start a group, you’ll receive tools and training from our Sandals Church Groups Team.
Q: How many women do I need to start a group?
A: You and a few friends is a group! Then, choose how large you grow. Maybe invite a neighbor, coworker or classmate to join along the way. If you add women or decide you’ve reached max capacity, just complete our Group Update form.
Q: How do I join a group?
A: The easiest way to join a group is to ask a woman you know at Sandals Church if you can join hers. That way you’re among familiar faces and are invited into established community. If you don’t know anyone yet, we can help you find a group. If you don’t find the exact group you’re looking for, consider broadening your search to other areas.
Q: What if a friend wants to join my existing community group?
A: We highly encourage groups to welcome new women and an invitation to a friend seeking community is exceptionally kind. If you have a few friends ready to cultivate community or if your existing group is growing quickly, consider starting a group of your own. If one group grows into 2 or 3 it just means you’re cultivating community like a pro!
Q: How do I become a women’s Cultivate group?
A: All Sandals Church women’s groups are considered Cultivate groups. You don’t need to do anything. In addition to receiving ongoing training and support from the Sandals Church Groups Team, you’ll be assigned a Group Guide who is a member of the Cultivate Leadership Team. They’ll be in contact and are happy to serve you as you serve Sandals Church women.
Q: Should I leave my mixed or marriage group to join a women’s Cultivate group?
A: Not necessarily. While women’s groups will have a different feel and allow you the freedom to discuss issues and topics you might not in mixed company, mixed or marriage groups might be the right fit for you. Your mixed group might even choose to split in seasons when Cultivate and Advance studies are available.
Q: What do groups do when you’re not offering a Cultivate study?
A: Cultivate is only a small part of the ministry that happens at Sandals Church. When we’re not offering a Cultivate study, we encourage you to take ownership of your spiritual growth. Our Weekly Reflection Guide equips you to discuss what we’re learning through the weekend messages, as well as engage in personal bible study as you cultivate God’s word into your life. You can also use the Bible Reading Plans found on the Sandals Church app or find archived Cultivate content at sandalschurch.tv.
Q: Why should I be in a community group?
A: We believe spiritual growth best happens in the context of community. While you could miss church for a few weekends and we wouldn’t know, your community group will miss you…and come looking for you! Not only is community a place for you to work out our vision of being real with self, God and others, but your group is where you are seen and known.
Q: How often does my group need to meet?
A: Typically community groups meet weekly. Our Sandals Church Groups Calendar has been created to help you establish healthy rhythms to connect, rest and build meaningful relationships one quarter at a time. We do encourage consistency and commitment so that your group connects and grows together.
Q: I want to lead a group, but my house isn’t fancy and I don’t have a lot of space?
A: Community isn’t a place; it’s people. Whether you gather around a coffee table or in a great room, your #1 goal is to create an environment where women feel safe, are treated with kindness and can be real. Use what you have! Tidy up, provide water and light snacks and arrange seating for everyone.
Q: Do I have to host a group in my home?
A: You’re welcome to gather at a favorite restaurant, coffee shop, park or even ask group members to share hosting with you. If you vary locations, clearly communicate to all group members and take the lead on the details – like arriving early to save a table and grab enough chairs.
Q: Can I host the group, but have someone else lead discussion?
A: Absolutely. If you’re more comfortable creating a welcoming environment and know someone who’d be great at leading a real conversation, partner together to co-lead.
Q: When I host a group, am I responsible for doing everything?
A: A key component of a healthy group is to share the ministry needs. Ask others to help lead by opening/closing in prayer, facilitating discussion questions or providing snacks. As you grow to know the women in your group, you’ll identify their passions and skills and you can give them the opportunity to exercise those. Sharing the responsibilities will make group more enjoyable for everyone!
Q: I want to attend a community group, but I need childcare.
A: Many community group leaders welcome kids. If you search for a group, look for “children welcome.” Other childcare options may include taking turns watching the kids, sharing costs to hire a sitter, or inviting in a trusted teenager, college student, husband/dad or grandparent to help out. If you feel lead to create a space for other women with kids, consider starting your own group.
Q: How can I invite other women to join my community group?
A: If you’re starting a group, just indicate on the form that you want your group listed on our website. If you aren’t currently listed in our Group Finder, just use our Group Update form to request we add you.
Q: I lead a group, but need to change the day, time or update our group roster?
A. Use our Group Update form to make any edits or adjustments to your group.
Q: I’m thinking about starting a group of my own, but I’m not sure I’m ready to lead.
A: It’s perfectly normal to feel that way. The first step is simply a willingness to create a safe place for women to be real. You’re not expected to prepare a sermon or bible study, but facilitate honest conversation and support them as they cultivate God’s word into their lives. God is with you and we’ll provide you tools, resources and support.
Q: Do you have any resources to help me learn more about leading a group?
A: Yes! We encourage all group leaders to go to the Sandals Church Learning Center and visit the Group Leader Training. Start with the “Introduction” and “Before your first group” training videos to help equip you for leading your group.
Q: I’ve completed the Start A Group form. What now?
A: Our Sandals Church Groups Team will be in touch with tools and resources. Now, invite women to join you. If your group is listed on our website, you’ll receive a text or email when women want to join your group. Welcome them and provide them your group/meeting details. Then, prepare to facilitate a conversation by praying, listening to the weekend message and using our Reflection Guide or the discussion question in the sermon notes.
Q: If I have a question, concern or need support leading my group, who do I ask?
A: You are assigned a Group Guide for your campus. She’ll be in contact and is happy to answer questions, provide direction or help you navigate any questions and concerns. If you can’t reach her, connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: Will you provide questions and content for our groups to discuss?
A: Yes! Every Monday you’ll have access to our Cultivate Reflection Guide with questions from the weekend message adapted to encourage real conversation. Use this for personal bible study or under the direction of your leader, to discuss and expand on message topics, scripture or real life issues that are meaningful to you. When we’re doing a Cultivate study, we’ll also provide you content and discussion guides.
Q: I’m in a mixed community group now. How is a women’s Cultivate group different?
A: The purpose of all Sandals Church community groups is to work out our vision of being real by discussing what we’re learning on the weekends. Women have unique needs and we want to create space for you to engage in real conversation, as well as encourage one another to cultivate God’s word into your life, relationships and circumstances. Our Cultivate Reflection Guide will help you address specific topics that will be impactful for women. In addition, leaders have the freedom to tailor the conversation to what matters most to the group, which can make it quite different than a mixed group.
Q: My group is looking for more content. What’s available?
A. Visit our Cultivate Channel on SandalsChurch.tv for previous studies. In addition, you can access an incredible library of previous Sandals Church sermon series from Pastor Matt Brown, which is a fantastic way to cultivate God’s word. You can visit our reflection guide archives to find content that pairs with his sermons from 2019 onward. Find even more growth on the go with The Cultivate Podcast – both current episodes and archived episodes.
Q: What if my group only gets through 1-2 questions each week?
A: It’s not about getting through the content, but about getting the content through you. If you only answer 1 question because there was a spiritual breakthrough, a woman needed encouragement or your group had rich conversation, that’s a success! Let the Spirit of God move, celebrate your wins and above all else…BE KIND!
Q: Does being a safe place mean we can talk about anything?
A: Healthy boundaries are vital to a healthy group. You are a safe place, but you also need to set ground rules so that you create a culture of inclusivity where everyone is committed to kindness and confidentiality. Your time together is REAL, so model healthy transparency and be a good heart handler. This means quickly discouraging unhealthy patterns of gossip or unkindness toward others.
Q: What are some other ways I can build community with my group?
A: Attend our Cultivate events to connect as a group outside of your normal meeting times. In addition, make time to simply build relationships by enjoying a meal together, planning a movie night or just hanging out. We always encourage you to think of creative ways to practice kindness in real life.
Q: Where do I find The Cultivate Podcast?
A: Just visit our Podcast page or search for The Cultivate Podcast on iTunes, the Apple Podcast app, Google Play, Spotify and Castbox.