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 join or start a group whenever they’re ready. Also, groups can meet all year long or design a schedule that works best for them!
Q: How do I start a group?
A: Starting your own group is one of the best ways to cultivate community and, it’s easy! 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!
Q: How many women do I need to start a group?
A: You and a few friends is a group! From there, you can choose how large you grow. If you decide you’ve reached max capacity, just complete our Group Update form and we’ll close your group.
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, visit our Group Finder and search by location and/or day of the week. If you don’t find the exact group you’re looking for, consider broadening your search to other areas – or even starting a group of your own! We also offer online groups for your convenience.
Q: What if a friend wants to join my existing community group?
A: Just talk to your leader. We highly encourage groups to welcome new women and an invitation to a friend seeking community is exceptionally kind. If you have a lot of friends or your group is growing, consider starting a group of your own. We’ve seen one group grow into 3 or 4, which means you’re cultivating community like a pro!
Q: I lead a women’s community group. 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 Discipleship 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. If you have the capacity to be in two groups, go for it! Women’s groups will have a different feel and allow you the freedom to discuss issues and topics that you might not in mixed company. If you’ve been in your current group for some time, consider recreating the spiritual growth you’ve experienced and providing a safe place for more women to grow spiritually wise, by leading a women’s group of your own.
Q: What do groups do when you’re not offering a Cultivate study?
A: Cultivate is amazing, but we’re only a small part of the ministry that happens at Sandals Church. When we’re not offering a Cultivate study, we want you to steward your spiritual growth. The primary way you can do that is by attending services on the weekend and living out what you’re learning through our Weekly Reflection Guide and/or the sermon note questions. Other ways you can do this include cultivating God’s word into your life through daily reading, conversation with friends or finding a book, study or solid biblical content to invest in. You can find archived Cultivate content at sandalschurch.tv.
Q: Why should I be in a community group?
A: 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, but you can meet every other week if that works best for your schedule. 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, arrange seating for everyone…and a clean bathroom is always a nice touch.
Q: Do I have to host a group in my home?
A: No. 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: Not at all. In fact, 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. When 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. Some groups even choose to meet at a park so the kids can play, while you enjoy community. Additionally, if you have a desire to create a space for other women with kids, consider starting your own group.
Q: How can I invite new 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. The easiest way for you to determine if other women can find your group is to search our Group Finder. If you aren’t currently listed on the website, 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. No problem. Just use our Group Update form to make any edits or adjustments to your group.
Q: My former Cultivate leader isn’t leading a group anymore. What do I do?
A: You can search our Group Finder for another group that meets your needs. You could also connect with other women you know (friends/family/neighbors/coworkers) and start a group of your own.
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: Your next step is to 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 or reviewing the study content and being willing to model kindness.
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 and empower women to live out their faith. Under the direction of your leader, you’re free to discuss and expand on message topics, scripture or real life issues that are meaningful to you – all while connecting in a community of kindness. If we’re doing a Cultivate study, we’ll provide a discussion guide.
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.
Q: What if my group only gets through 1-2 questions each week?
A: Your time together is not about getting through the content, it’s about the content getting 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. These events are the perfect way to connect as a group outside of your normal meeting times. In addition, 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 or the Google Play Store.
Thank YOU for partnering with us to make Cultivate a place for every woman. We look forward to connecting in community and together committing to the vision of being real with self, God and others. If you didn’t find the answer to your questions here, kindly email us at email@example.com.