Basic Principles for a
Small-Group Agreement or Contract between Members

1. Don’t miss, except for emergencies. A group works because members make the group a priority. Each member must make a commitment to each other.

2. Share yourself. Let people know you to the extent you are willing. How you feel and how you look at life matters.

3. Listen closely to others. Don’t give advice, counsel or therapy or comment on what others say, but let people know you understand and are trying to appreciate the feeling they are expressing.

4. Never argue your point or badger another. Be yourself, be firm, but don’t try to win others over to your viewpoint. People can be different. In fact, differences enhance a group.

5. Try to show support to each person in the group. Help people see their strengths and confront them when they are not using their strengths.

6. Expressing negative feelings can be helpful. Bottled-up feelings can set up unspoken barriers. Avoid ridicule or attack. Focus on how someone’s behavior in the group affects you and how the situation can be improved. A one-to-one talk can help sometimes.

7. Don’t talk about people behind their backs.

8. Nothing said leaves the group.

9. Take responsibility for the life of the community. Take a turn facilitating or hosting the meeting. Do something that might help another’s contribution to the group get noticed. Call an absent member. Pray for each other.

Based on information taken from “Creating Small Church Communities” Third Edition by Father Arthur R. Baranowski,
St. Anthony Messenger Press, 1615 Republic Street, Cincinnati, OH ,45210 (513) 241-5615