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 group format is that we aren’t limited by schedules. Any woman can join a group when they’re ready. Small groups provide a place to be real and people you can be real with. Together, you’ll connect and grow through our group core values to love God and love people, as you learn how to live on mission, sharing your faith in the world around you SO THAT others can know Jesus too.
Q: How do I start a group?
A: If you have a desire to lead and disciple others in a small group, kindly complete a Start a Group Interest Form. Someone from our Groups Team and/or your home campus will be in touch to provide more information and get the process started.
Q: How many women do I need to start a group?
A: You and a few women is a group! Invite a few friends, women you see at church on the weekends or a neighbor, coworker or classmate.
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 her group. 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.
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. Begin the conversation with your group leader and other group members to be sure that everyone is on board with growing your group.
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 Coach who is a member of your campus leadership and/or our Cultivate leadership team. They’ll be in contact and are happy to coach 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. In seasons when we aren’t 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 archived study content here or at sandalschurch.tv.
Q: Why should I be in a community group?
A: We believe spiritual growth best happens in the context of community. 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, a place where you can love God, love people and learn how to live on mission as you share your faith in the world around you.
Q: How often does my group need to meet?
A: Typically community groups meet weekly, but we encourage you to have an honest conversation as a group and establish healthy rhythms to connect, rest and build meaningful relationships. This can happen in the context of weekly meetings as well as shared experiences such as a meal, celebration or group outing. We do encourage consistency and commitment so that your group connects and grows together, however there may be seasons [e.g. summertime, holidays] when, as you group, you decide to pause or take a break.
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. In addition, encourage group members to share in the group experience by bringing snacks or helping to lead, pray, etc.
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 and we can help you find one. 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 called to create a space for other women with kids, we’d love to share more about starting your own group.
Q: How can I invite other women to join my community group?
A: Begin by inviting the existing women in your group to pray about who in their life could benefit from community, then encourage them to start that conversation. In addition, you can speak with your campus pastor or leadership team and let them know you’re ready to welcome new women so that they can help make that connection too. Feel free to email us at email@example.com if you’d like us to send women your way.
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. If God is stirring that desire within you, we are here to equip you with training, tools, resources and support. If you are ready to explore group leadership, let us know.
Q: I’ve completed the Start A Group form. What now?
A: Our Sandals Church Groups Team and/or someone from your home campus will be in touch with more information, along with tools and resources. In the meantime, begin the practice of being in church on the weekends, then use our Reflection Guide or the discussion question in the sermon notes to prepare to facilitate a conversation on what you’re learning and how you can live that out.
Q: If I have a question, concern or need support leading my group, who do I ask?
A: You are assigned a Group Coach 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 spiritual growth 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. In addition, you can find study content, sermon notes and discussion questions on the Sandals Church app.
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 is a tool written by women, for women, so that you can grow spiritually wise, relationally kind and emotionally healthy as you cultivate community.
Q: My group is looking for more content. What’s available?
A. Find previous Cultivate studies in our menu under “Study Content” or access an incredible library of previous Sandals Church sermon series from Pastor Matt Brown that you can pair with our reflection guide archives from 2019 onward. In addition, you can find even more growth on the go with The Cultivate Podcast – both current episodes and archived episodes – and an excellent library of bible reading plans on the Sandals Church app.
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.